clas·​si·​fi·​ca·​tion | \ˌkla-sə-fə-ˈkā-shən \

Definition of classification 

1 : the act or process of classifying

2a : systematic arrangement in groups or categories according to established criteria specifically : taxonomy

b : class, category

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Other Words from classification

classificatory \ˈkla-​sə-​fi-​kə-​ˌtȯr-​ē, kla-​ˈsi-​fə-​; ˈkla-​sə-​fə-​ˌkā-​tə-​rē \ adjective

Examples of classification in a Sentence

the classification of new species job classifications for government workers

Recent Examples on the Web

The classification, Republican commissioners at the agency have argued, will only preserve the status quo. Colin Lecher, The Verge, "FCC approves new text message rules, giving carriers more power," 12 Dec. 2018 Students must learn a Class 1 solo, the hardest classification, and then sing or play the song from memory with an accompanist and be awarded a First Division, a superior rating, on that solo to advance to the state competition. Community Report, Houston Chronicle, "LHS singer Mayo named Outstanding Performer at state contest," 4 July 2018 Under this new classification, the number of deaths that would be reallocated to involve opioids ranged from just nine in Vermont to more than 11,000 in Pennsylvania, according to the study. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "Researchers May Have Underestimated the Number of Opioid Overdose Deaths," 27 June 2018 According to GW Pharmaceuticals, in 90 days the DEA will be obliged to change the classification of CBD as a schedule 1 drug, because a government agency has approved it for medical use. Mackenzie Wagoner, Vogue, "Why the FDA's Approval of a Cannabis-Derived Drug Could Change the Future of Medical Marijuana," 26 June 2018 That’s not to say that these classifications — horror buffs, horror wimps — are totally set in stone. Cari Romm, The Cut, "What Your Ability to Handle Horror Movies Says About You," 14 June 2018 The debate about Elizondo’s classification of his military service follows questions about his attendance record at court meetings. Jasper Scherer, San Antonio Express-News, "Elizondo’s statement about his military service called into question," 30 Apr. 2018 The old Whitney has lost some of its funkiness as curators have tried to shoehorn in tasteful exhibitions into that are modern in classification but anesthetized in temperament. Kelsey Keith, Curbed, "The inaugural monthly column from Curbed’s editor-in-chief turns an eye to Postmodernism, following the loss of Robert Venturi," 24 Sep. 2018 And anything pertaining to history of human migrations, or things that play into traditional classifications of racial phenotypes like facial morphology or skin color. Michael Price, Science | AAAS, "‘It’s a toxic place.’ How the online world of white nationalists distorts population genetics," 22 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'classification.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of classification

1767, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

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Last Updated

15 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for classification

The first known use of classification was in 1767

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English Language Learners Definition of classification

: the act or process of putting people or things into groups based on ways that they are alike

: an arrangement of people or things into groups based on ways that they are alike


clas·​si·​fi·​ca·​tion | \ˌkla-sə-fə-ˈkā-shən \

Kids Definition of classification

1 : the act of arranging into groups of similar things

2 : an arrangement into groups of similar things a classification of plants


clas·​si·​fi·​ca·​tion | \ˌklas-(ə-)fə-ˈkā-shən \

Medical Definition of classification 

1 : the act or process of classifying

2 : systematic arrangement of animals and plants in groups or categories according to established criteria specifically : taxonomy sense 2

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Legal Definition of classification 

: the act or method of distributing into a class or category according to characteristics also : a class or category determined by characteristics — see also suspect classification

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