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

Essential Meaning of taxonomy

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

Full 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 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 game’s creators, the USC Game Innovation Lab—supported by the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities, and Sundance, among others—were very attentive to the taxonomy. Sarah Ruth Bates, Wired, 5 Mar. 2021 According to the report, investors describing themselves as green were allocated two thirds of the deals, and those that incorporated the EU taxonomy criteria into their frameworks noted that this had helped to attract dark green buyers. Felicia Jackson, Forbes, 21 Sep. 2021 Givaudan has its own taxonomy of flavors, with eight icons, among them vanilla — pandan’s supposed doppelgänger, and perhaps the one floral flavor embedded in the Western psyche as the default of ice cream. New York Times, 6 Sep. 2021 The goal of this week’s conference is to find practical steps to address climate change including having a common taxonomy about green issues, new policies, financial disclosures, and mobilizing capital markets to address climate change. Mayra Rodriguez Valladares, Forbes, 1 June 2021 Smart companies are harmonizing their taxonomy so that the true vision of GRC can be mobilized. Gaurav Kapoor, Forbes, 6 July 2021 The Journal relied on each rater’s taxonomy and score to create a common seven-point scale where lower values indicate superior ESG performance. Shane Shifflett, WSJ, 10 Aug. 2021 From a taxonomy point of view, digital money is a currency not held in physical form. Frank Van Gansbeke, Forbes, 28 June 2021 Haugen and his colleagues extend this taxonomy to include pure milers and 1,500/5,000 runners. Alex Hutchinson, Outside Online, 11 June 2021

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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The first known use of taxonomy was circa 1828

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Last Updated

21 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Taxonomy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for taxonomy


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


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