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 absence of a rigid racial taxonomy led to an extraordinarily mixed country, with single families composed of multiple skin tones, and far more racial fluidity. Washington Post, "In Brazil, the death of a poor black child in the care of rich white woman brings a racial reckoning," 28 June 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 Ancient Romans had a precise taxonomy for the level of passion infused in their kisses. Michael Birnbaum, BostonGlobe.com, "Europe bids adieu to cheek kiss in coronavirus era," 15 May 2020 Is this a valuable taxonomy or simply a list of all the possibilities, like eye color? Duff Mcdonald, Wired, "Being Happy at Work Is Simply Not Enough," 29 Feb. 2020 Every gym has its own elaborate taxonomy, and there was a time when this fascinated and enlivened me. Christian Wiman, New York Times, "Letter of Recommendation: Gyms," 18 Mar. 2020 The bigger problem, maybe, is just the nature of wine taxonomy. Esther Mobley, SFChronicle.com, "Yes, restaurant wine lists are confusing, but occasionally they get it right," 23 Jan. 2020 In diaristic fragments, Lizzie builds a taxonomy of end-times experts: disaster psychologists, futurists, climate scientists, survival instructors, war journalists, hippies. The New Yorker, "Briefly Noted," 2 Mar. 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

4 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Taxonomy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/taxonomy. Accessed 8 Aug. 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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