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 nomenclature (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 The misleading promises and the confusing nomenclature are beginning to rile other players in the driverless car industry. Los Angeles Times, "Two die in driverless Tesla incident. Where are the regulators?," 19 Apr. 2021 In nomenclature and spirit, the ES250 is going back to its roots: more fancy Camry than ever before. John Pearley Huffman, Car and Driver, "Tested: 2021 Lexus ES250 AWD Gets in Touch with Its Inner Camry," 17 Mar. 2021 The Old Farmer's Almanac, which is the main keeper of moon nicknames, pulls its lunar nomenclature from Native American traditions. Stefanie Waldek, Travel + Leisure, "A Spectacular Super Pink Moon Is Coming This Month — How to See It," 9 Apr. 2021 Election lawyer Burt Odelson said matters of party nomenclature often end up in court. John Keilman,, "What’s in a name? A look at the strategies and schemes behind the obscure political parties of Chicago’s suburbs.," 3 Apr. 2021 Is there a more sophisticated nomenclature that would avoid inappropriate conflation of a certain group of people or a place with a pathogen? The Atlantic, "Listen: A History of Pandemic Xenophobia and Racism," 26 Mar. 2021 But this decision to swap the familiar nomenclature of 10 centuries for halting tongue-twisters is both the most noticeable of Ruden’s rare missteps in this project. Steve Donoghue, The Christian Science Monitor, "‘In the Gospels, no one is essential but Jesus’: new translation adds fresh scholarship," 17 Mar. 2021 As Milwaukee grew, each generation deposited a new layer of nomenclature, with pioneer names (Juneau, Kilbourn, Walker, Vliet, Wells) most common in the center and a less predictable assortment in newer neighborhoods. John Gurda, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Opinion: Milwaukee's ever-changing street names have long been a way to express civic pride," 4 Mar. 2021 Scientists rely on at least three competing systems of nomenclature — Gisaid, Pango and Nextstrain — each of which makes sense in its own world. New York Times, "Why Virus Variants Have Such Weird Names," 2 Mar. 2021

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

2 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Nomenclature.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for nomenclature



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 nomenclature (audio) \ adjective
nomenclaturally \ -​ē How to pronounce nomenclature (audio) \ adverb

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