no·men·cla·ture | \ ˈnō-mən-ˌklā-chər also nō-ˈmen-klə-ˌchu̇r , -ˈmeŋ- , -chər , -ˌtyu̇r , -ˌtu̇r \

Definition of nomenclature 

1 : name, designation … the changing nomenclature of her streets is even more baffling … —Cornelia O. Skinner

2 : the act or process or an instance of naming nomenclature … is at its simplest the task of assigning a name to each distinct species —R. I. Smith

3a : a system or set of terms or symbols especially in a particular science, discipline, or art the nomenclature of inorganic chemistry

b : an international system of standardized New Latin names used in biology for kinds and groups of kinds of animals and plants

Keep scrolling for more

Other words from nomenclature

nomenclatural \ˌnō-mən-ˈklāch-rəl, -ˈklā-chə- \ adjective

Are nomenclature and Name Synonymous?

In his 1926 Dictionary of Modern English Usage, grammarian H. W. Fowler asserted that it was wrong to use nomenclature as a synonym for name; he declared that nomenclature could only mean "a system of naming or of names." It is true that nomenclature comes from the Latin nomenclatura, meaning "the assigning of names," but the name sense was the first to appear in English (it is documented as long ago as 1610), and it has been considered perfectly standard for centuries.

Examples of nomenclature in a Sentence

the nomenclatures of zoology and chemistry the nomenclature, “tuxedo,” derives from the fact that the jacket first became popular in the resort area of Tuxedo Park, New York

Recent Examples on the Web

Of course, real estate nomenclature is as malleable as Play-Doh. John Kelly, Washington Post, "A new D.C. building is coining a new neighborhood name — or resurrecting one," 19 June 2018 Since the late 80s, the man who releases prank calls as Longmont Potion Castle has created a DIY surrealist universe, complete with a ludicrous nomenclature all its own, disorienting sound collages, and bizarro instrumental interludes. Jamie Ludwig, Chicago Reader, "Stephanie Marlow of Indie Publicity on a brutal band with a soft spot for pitties," 10 July 2018 This long-distance touring coupe, formerly belonging to the 5 Series family, has been given new nomenclature in keeping with BMW’s policy of making things very confusing. Dan Neil, WSJ, "2018 BMW 640xi GT: A High-Riding, Roomy Sedan That’s Fun to Drive," 20 Apr. 2018 Maybe absence will make the collective nomenclature grow fonder. Donna Vickroy, Daily Southtown, "Destined to be dowdy forever? The difficulty of being named 'Donna' in 2018," 7 July 2018 Baseball writer Aaron Gleeman used the nomenclature around the same time, urging the Minnesota Twins to use Rule 5 pick Johan Santana in the starting rotation. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The story behind the #FreeNateOrf movement that played into one of the year’s biggest Brewers moments," 4 July 2018 The characters’ names are the actual Latin nomenclature for the squirrel genus and species. Pam Kragen,, "La Jolla Playhouse's apocalyptic 'Squirrels' a dark, funny look at prejudice," 14 June 2018 Bloomberg reported Tuesday that Airbus, which hold a slight majority stake in CSALP, may rename the C Series to match its own nomenclature. Lawrence Specker,, "Airbus growth plans developing; could mean Alabama jobs," 26 Apr. 2018 And simple nomenclature becomes a gateway onto endless, globe-crossing vistas of family histories and fraught stories of immigration. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: Who Am I? ‘Panorama’ Says There Is No Easy Answer," 12 Jan. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of nomenclature

1610, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for nomenclature

Latin nomenclatura assigning of names, from nomen + calatus, past participle of calare

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about nomenclature

Share nomenclature

Listen to Our Podcast about nomenclature

Statistics for nomenclature

Last Updated

19 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for nomenclature

The first known use of nomenclature was in 1610

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for nomenclature



English Language Learners Definition of nomenclature

: a system of names for things especially in science


no·men·cla·ture | \ ˈnō-mən-ˌklā-chər also nō-ˈmen-klə-ˌchu̇(ə)r, -ˈmeŋ-, -klə-chər, -klə-ˌt(y)u̇(ə)r \

Medical Definition of nomenclature 

: a system of terms used in a particular science especially : an international system of standardized New Latin names used in biology for kinds and groups of kinds of animals and plants — see binomial nomenclature

Other words from nomenclature

nomenclatural \ˌnō-mən-ˈklāch-(ə-)rəl \ adjective
nomenclaturally \ \ adverb

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on nomenclature

What made you want to look up nomenclature? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


by word of mouth

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!