taxonomy

noun
tax·​on·​o·​my | \ tak-ˈsä-nə-mē How to pronounce taxonomy (audio) \

Definition of taxonomy

1 : the study of the general principles of scientific classification : systematics
2 : classification especially : orderly classification of plants and animals according to their presumed natural relationships

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Other Words from taxonomy

taxonomic \ ˌtak-​sə-​ˈnä-​mik How to pronounce taxonomic (audio) \ or less commonly taxonomical \ ˌtak-​sə-​ˈnä-​mi-​kəl How to pronounce taxonomical (audio) \ adjective
taxonomically \ ˌtak-​sə-​ˈnä-​mi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce taxonomically (audio) \ adverb
taxonomist \ tak-​ˈsä-​nə-​mist How to pronounce taxonomist (audio) \ noun

Examples of taxonomy in a Sentence

the taxonomies of various plant groups
Recent Examples on the Web The second volume was a sweeping taxonomy—an attempt to do for civil-resistance theory what Linnaeus had done for biology. Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, "How to Stop a Power Grab," 16 Nov. 2020 There’s a taxonomy to all the honks, with a surprisingly expressive mix of impassioned blasts, urgent Morse code patterns and musical hoots coming from up to a dozen cars a minute. Michael Laris, Washington Post, "Behind a father-and-son protest, a history of laughter and struggle," 3 Sep. 2020 Whatever its claims to intimacy or revelation, the book is really an extended tribute to the comforts of Amis’s favorite forms of armored thinking—dichotomy, taxonomy, generalization, definition, prescription, and proscription. Leo Robson, Harper's Magazine, "A Swing and Amis," 27 Oct. 2020 Many of the biologists who have emerged from such efforts have moved beyond the taxonomy and descriptive science that has long been a tradition in Costa Rica. Jocelyn Kaiser, Science | AAAS, "Costa Rica is producing a new corps of skilled tropical biologists. But many can’t find jobs at home," 24 Sep. 2020 Still, all that rich language and the author’s meandering philosophical reflections on subjects from parasites to the history of taxonomy can make for slow reading and seem at times to be diversions from the main subject. Richard Schiffman, Washington Post, "The mysterious lives and enduring allure of whales," 4 Sep. 2020 Truthfully, however, this taxonomy has never suited sketch's whimsical style of performance. Robyn Bahr, The Hollywood Reporter, "Why the Emmys Needs a Separate Category for Sketch Comedy Performers," 14 Aug. 2020 Mud-slinging is one thing; criminalizing free speech is altogether different, as Wendell Bird writes in Criminal Dissent, an exhaustive taxonomy of the prosecutions that took place under these high-handed laws. Brenda Wineapple, The New York Review of Books, "Our First Authoritarian Crackdown," 17 June 2020 Even the father of taxonomy, Carl Linnaeus, was stumped. The Economist, "Rich and strange Jellyfish, not the meek, might inherit the Earth," 2 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'taxonomy.' 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 taxonomy

circa 1828, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for taxonomy

borrowed from French taxonomie, from Greek táxis "arrangement, order" + French -o- -o- + -nomie -nomy — more at taxis

Note: French taxonomie was a coinage of the Geneva-born botanist Augustin Pyramus de Candolle (1778-1841), in Théorie élémentaire de la botanique (Paris, 1813). Candolle divided botany into three divisions (p. 19): "…elle se compose 1.o de la Glossologie, c'est-à-dire, de la connaissance des termes par lesquels on designe les organes des plantes et leurs diverses modification; 2.o de la Taxonomie [footnote: "Mot formé de ταξις ordre, et νόμος loi, règle."], ou de la Théorie des classifications appliquée au règne végétal; 3.o de la Phytographie, ou de l'art de décrire les plantes de la manière la plus utile aux progrès de la science…" ("…it is composed of 1.o Glossology, that is, the recognition of the terms by which the organs of plants are designated, and their various modifications; ; 2.o Taxonomy [footnote: "Word formed from táxis order, and nómos law, rule."], or the theory of classifications applied to the vegetable kingdom; 3.o Phytography, or the art of describing plants in the manner most suited to the progress of science"). A more correct compounding form in terms of Greek word formation would have been taxi- (as táxis is an i-stem), and taxinomy did in fact see some use in the 19th century—though Candolle's original coinage has predominated. His parallel introductions, glossology and phytography, have rarely been employed.

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Time Traveler for taxonomy

Time Traveler

The first known use of taxonomy was circa 1828

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Statistics for taxonomy

Last Updated

25 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Taxonomy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/taxonomy. Accessed 28 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for taxonomy

taxonomy

noun
How to pronounce taxonomy (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of taxonomy

technical : the process or system of describing the way in which different living things are related by putting them in groups

taxonomy

noun
tax·​on·​o·​my | \ tak-ˈsä-nə-mē How to pronounce taxonomy (audio) \

Kids Definition of taxonomy

: classification of living things (as plants and animals) using a system that is usually based on natural relationships

taxonomy

noun
tax·​on·​o·​my | \ tak-ˈsän-ə-mē How to pronounce taxonomy (audio) \
plural taxonomies

Medical Definition of taxonomy

1 : the study of the general principles of scientific classification : systematics
2 : orderly classification of plants and animals according to their presumed natural relationships

More from Merriam-Webster on taxonomy

Britannica English: Translation of taxonomy for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about taxonomy

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