AskDefine | Define terminology

Dictionary Definition

terminology n : a system of words used in a particular discipline; "legal terminology"; "the language of sociology" [syn: nomenclature, language]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • tзrminóləjee


  1. The doctrine of terms; a theory of terms or appellations; a treatise on terms, a system of specialized terms.
  2. The terms actually used in any business, art, science, or the like; nomenclature; technical terms; as, the terminology of chemistry.
  3. Nomenclature, vocabulary, jargon


doctrine of terms
terms used in any business, art, etc
nomenclature, vocabulary, jargon

Extensive Definition

Terminology is the study of terms and their use — of words and compound words that are used in specific contexts.
Terminology also denotes a more formal discipline which systematically studies the labelling or designating of concepts particular to one or more subject fields or domains of human activity, through research and analysis of terms in context, for the purpose of documenting and promoting correct usage. This study can be limited to one language or can cover more than one language at the same time (multilingual terminology, bilingual terminology, and so forth).
Terminology is not connected to Information Retrieval in any way. "Terms" (i.e. index terms) used in an Information Retrieval context are not the same as "terms" used in the context of Terminology.


The discipline of terminology is based on its own theoretical principles and consists primarily of the following aspects:
  • analysing the concepts and concept structures used in a field or domain of activity
  • identifying the terms assigned to the concepts
  • in the case of bilingual or multilingual terminology, establishing correspondences between terms in the various languages
  • compiling the terminology(artifact), on paper or in databases
  • managing terminology databases
  • creating new terms, as required

Types of terminology

A distinction is made between two types of terminology:
  • Ad hoc terminology, which deals with a single term or a limited number of terms
  • Systematic terminology, which deals with all the terms in a specific subject field or domain of activity
Ad hoc terminology is prevalent in the translation profession, where a translation for a specific term (or group of terms) is required quickly to solve a particular translation problem.

Terminology as a discipline

As a discipline, terminology is related to translation, alongside which it is often taught in universities and translation schools. Large translation departments and translation bureaus will often have a terminology section, or will require translators to do terminology research.


Terminology is also defined by context, the study of terms primarily concerned with organizing them by the context in which they are used. These contexts may include:
terminology in Bulgarian: Терминология
terminology in Czech: Terminologie
terminology in German: Terminologie
terminology in Spanish: Terminología
terminology in Esperanto: Terminologio
terminology in Basque: Terminologia
terminology in French: Terminologie
terminology in Galician: Terminoloxía
terminology in Indonesian: Terminologi
terminology in Italian: Terminologia
terminology in Georgian: ტერმინოლოგია
terminology in Dutch: Terminologie
terminology in Japanese: 学術用語
terminology in Norwegian: Terminologi
terminology in Portuguese: Terminologia
terminology in Russian: Терминология
terminology in Swedish: Terminologi
terminology in Turkish: Terimbilim
terminology in Ukrainian: Термінологія
terminology in Yiddish: טערמינאלאגיע

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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