no·​men·​cla·​ture | \ ˈnō-mən-ˌklā-chər How to pronounce nomenclature (audio) 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

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Other Words from nomenclature

nomenclatural \ ˌnō-​mən-​ˈklāch-​rəl , -​ˈklā-​chə-​ How to pronounce nomenclatural (audio) \ 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 Yes, in spite of the arboreal nomenclature, blueberries are available for the picking, as well as chestnuts. cleveland, "Enjoy the berry best of summer at Northeast Ohio U-pick locations," 26 June 2020 But confusion surrounding nomenclature led to the Office of Emergency Services to release new state guidelines on these. Mark Olalde, USA TODAY, "In CA: The mask argument continues; schools jump into the debate on racism and policing," 23 June 2020 The ruling by the High Court of Justice, which follows an appeal of a similar decision four years ago, is the latest twist in a convoluted but heated battle between the two drug makers over their corporate nomenclature. Ed Silverman, STAT, "In a tale of two Mercks, the German company wins a court battle over its U.S. rival," 21 May 2020 Lennon pointed out Wednesday that the Spanish Flu of the early 20th century likely didn’t even originate in Spain, despite the nomenclature. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "Sean Ono Lennon says media 'lost their legitimacy' over coronavirus coverage," 2 Apr. 2020 Much of the old nomenclature has turned out to be not only stigmatizing but inaccurate. Eren Orbey, The New Yorker, "What’s at Stake in a Virus’s Name," 25 Mar. 2020 In the nomenclature of aviation, that meant perform an emergency checklist shutting off power to the motor driving down the nose and keep it off. Fortune, "After first 737 Max crash, why did Boeing’s pilot warning fail to stop second plane from going down?," 9 Mar. 2020 More Than Elite Assassins Immune system nomenclature is rife with cell labels suitable for fierce, battle-ready warriors. Quanta Magazine, "Immune Cell Assassins Reveal Their Nurturing Side," 11 Feb. 2020 It was popularly being referred to in the industry as the 797, given Boeing's plane nomenclature. Chris Isidore, CNN, "Boeing's got bigger problems than the 737 Max," 11 Feb. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of nomenclature

1610, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for nomenclature

borrowed from Latin nōmenclātūra "assigning of names to things," from nōmen "name" + calātus, past participle of calāre "to announce, proclaim" + -ūra -ure — more at name entry 1, low entry 3

Note: The Latin word is formed after earlier nōmenclātor "slave tasked with telling his master the names of clients and others encountered publicly"—see nomenclator.

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Time Traveler for nomenclature

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The first known use of nomenclature was in 1610

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Last Updated

30 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Nomenclature.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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How to pronounce nomenclature (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of nomenclature

formal : 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 How to pronounce nomenclatural (audio) \ adjective
nomenclaturally \ -​ē How to pronounce nomenclaturally (audio) \ adverb

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