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 Magyar has analyzed the signs and circumstances of this process in post-Communist countries and has proposed a detailed taxonomy. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, "The Trump Administration’s War on the Government Is an “Autocratic Attempt”," 27 Oct. 2019 While a full taxonomy of N.R.A. donors is not possible, a partial picture emerged from The Times’s examination. Danny Hakim, New York Times, "Beyond the Grave, the N.R.A.’s $56 Million Donor Lives On," 16 July 2019 In this view, attempts to build taxonomies of simple defensive circuits are not scientifically generative. Dean Mobbs, Scientific American, "On the Nature of Fear," 20 Sep. 2019 The taxonomy, or green list, will also need time to fully develop into a working catalog. Washington Post, "The EU’s New Climate Weapon Is in Financial Fine Print," 11 Dec. 2019 Overview of the history of discovery, taxonomy, phylogeny and biogeography of Majungasaurus crenatissimus from the late Cretaceous of Madagascar. Fox News, "70M year-old dinosaur replaced its teeth as fast as sharks," 3 Dec. 2019 The Digital Medicine Society is already pursuing ancillary projects and efforts including developing a common taxonomy and framework for the evaluation of sensors and digital measures. Rachel A. Chasse, STAT, "Digital endpoints library can aid clinical trials for new medicines," 6 Nov. 2019 Now two cybersecurity firms have created a new visual taxonomy to organize all that digital chaos—and in doing so, perhaps helped crystallize who the distinct players are within the Kremlin's hacking forces. Wired, "This Map Shows All the Code Connections Between Russia's Hacker Groups," 24 Sep. 2019 Embraced by artists and scientists alike, Werner’s color taxonomy gave people the language to describe a specific color. Anne Quito, Quartzy, "An 18th-century geologist emerges as 2019’s most insightful color guru," 11 Oct. 2019

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

French taxonomie, from tax- + -nomie -nomy

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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

14 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Taxonomy.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 19 January 2020.

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More Definitions for taxonomy


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


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


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 Encyclopedia article about taxonomy

Comments on taxonomy

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to insert between existing elements

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