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Jargon of the Spies

As you may (or may not) know, I am a huge spy fan. I love espionage related movies and stories. The sneaking around and stopping terrorist groups from taking over and/or destroying the world; Finding out what secrets are woven throughout a family’s history; Solving difficult codes and getting out of life-threatening situations. The only thing I don’t like about espionage is lying. But we can save the whole “is it okay to lie when saving someone’s life” debate for another time. 

Today I want to talk about another part of a spy’s life that I have recently delved deeper into: the jargon of espionage. Now, in case you’re wondering, the word “jargon” in this instance means “the technical terminology or characteristic idiom of a special activity or group” (according to Merriam Webster, that is), and is basically special wording or phrases which no one else would understand unless they work in the same special group (I.e. the field of espionage), and therefore is probably not something most individuals would know. For example, if you are in the medical field, you are likely to know what a chem panel is, but for the rest of us, we probably need a dictionary to look it up. Likewise, the field of espionage is equally versed in terminology which only spies, and individuals in the espionage line of work, would understand. 

I know from reading spy fiction, what words like “agent”, “mole”, or “rogue” mean in spy jargon, but when I was looking at different vocabularies regarding spies, I soon discovered that this database of specialized words is a whole lot larger than I originally thought.
For example, did you know there is a difference between an agent, an agent handler, agent-in-place, and agent-of-influence? I didn’t. But now I do. 

Not only is this (slightly confusing) database of spy jargon important in understanding spy fiction, talking like a spy, or (if you are interested) getting in the CIA or some other mysterious agency, it is important if you are to ever write your own work on spies. Now, not to say I am an expert on the subject of spies or anything, for I still have much to learn, but I find knowing these specialized words has not only enriched my love for the secretive craft, but further embellished my writing as well. I am currently in the works of writing spy fiction of my own, and let’s say, although it is not near being done yet, knowing this terminology, this jargon, will not only make my fiction better, but more fun and engaging, more real to write and read. 

To conclude, I believe it is important to know jargon for a specific field of study, activity, or group, not just for fun, but to better enrich your life, and if you are a writer or reader like me, your literary works as well.

Now, maybe you want to learn more about the differences between the types of agents mentioned above, or maybe want to better understand when James Bond or some other spy character says “I have a shadow.” (I mean, yeah we all have one when under light, but the term “shadow” used here is totally different.) Well, you are in luck, because beginning this July (2024), I am starting a new fun little thing on my Facebook page, NoasArtMarket,  called “Spy-Day Friday”, where I will be posting spy-related content including aforementioned espionage jargon, fun spy-facts, and best of all, ciphers for you to solve. Yes you get to solve and decode ciphers! How fun! I hope you are as excited as I am to embark on this not-so top-secret journey on Fridays, and if you are, I highly encourage you to follow my Facebook page, NoasArtMarket, so you can keep track of every mysterious thing that I post. You can go to my Facebook page by clicking on the FB link on my website, or by going to Facebook and searching for NoasArtMarket. I would love for you to join me on this adventure!

May God’s light shine upon you!
~Noa Allen
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Charlotte Ferrell
Charlotte Ferrell

I spy an excellent writer in the making!

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