Technobabble is the use of words vaguely related to science fact in some way, in hopes of making speculative fiction at least sound plausible, further assisting the audience in suspension of disbelief. It's also intended not to allow the show or book or whatever to become dated or flawed before it has a chance to make any money. Technobabble has been used extensively in speculative fiction since at least the days of Jules Verne. However, the term, and the terminology behind it, didn't actually hit the mainstream populace until the introduction of Star Trek on modern pop culture.

We have Michael Okuda and his team of people behind-the-scenes at Paramount to thank for a lot of these geeky words. Some of my personal favorite technobabble words from Star Trek include:

Sometimes they get really stuck and can't think of anything, so when they do that, they make up an inventor, and just use his name, like the Manheim Device in We'll Always Have Paris (TNG) or the Tantalus Field in Mirror, Mirror (TOS). And then there's times when they just punt. When all other avenues are exhausted, they would just make up a word: Tribble, for example.