Word Origin & History
1860, from Fr. argot (17c.) "the jargon of Paris rogues and thieves," earlier "the company of beggars," from M.Fr., "group of beggars," origin unknown. The Eng. equivalent is cant. The Ger. equivalent is Rotwelsch, lit. "Red Welsh," but the first element may be connected with M.H.G. rot "beggar."