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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from taxonomy

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

Examples of taxonomy in a Sentence

the taxonomies of various plant groups
Recent Examples on the Web The isms and taxonomies of modern art are, to a large degree, essentially the isms and taxonomy established by MoMA over the last century. Washington Post, "Phillips Collection is turning 100 and showing what future of classic museums can be," 9 Mar. 2021 Identifying the plants represented in the fossils was a massive labor of taxonomy that Jaramillo says eventually allowed the team to determine which species were lost and gained following the asteroid impact. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "How the Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid Spurred the Evolution of the Modern Rainforest," 1 Apr. 2021 This plan, if successful, would build a common taxonomy and ontology that connects any piece of health data to any other for faster and more complete population analysis. Peter Hovstadius, STAT, "Lessons from Nordic countries can accelerate the impact of AI in medicine," 30 Mar. 2021 And China is also working with its European counterparts to announce a common green taxonomy this year, to define and classify green projects. Greg Ritchie, Fortune, "Bond investors face baffling $2 trillion rainbow of ethical debt," 27 Mar. 2021 But these technological advances are no replacement for traditional taxonomy, Bucklin says. Katherine Harmon, Scientific American, "20,000 Species Under the Sea [Slide Show]," 4 Oct. 2010 From a taxonomy perspective, little has changed in recent years. Richard Marques, Forbes, "Why Accountability, Curation And An Open Web Are Key To Digital's Future," 1 Mar. 2021 The heartless, slash-and-burn approach is more fitting of a WikiOrc or a WikiTroll, two villains of the site’s taxonomy. Stephen Harrison, Wired, "Wikipedia Is Basically a Massive RPG," 15 Jan. 2021 The work of Graham and others was the beginning of the study of computational complexity and the development of a taxonomy of algorithmic difficulty, whose subtleties are still being worked out today. Dan Rockmore, The New Yorker, "Three Mathematicians We Lost in 2020," 31 Dec. 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.

See More

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.

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about taxonomy

Time Traveler for taxonomy

Time Traveler

The first known use of taxonomy was circa 1828

See more words from the same year

Statistics for taxonomy

Last Updated

13 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Taxonomy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/taxonomy. Accessed 13 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for taxonomy

taxonomy

noun

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

Comments on taxonomy

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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