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nomenclature

Printable Version
Pronunciation: no-min-klay-chêr Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: A system for naming things in a certain class, systematic naming.

Notes: There are a couple of members of the nomenclature derivational family. First there is a personal noun, nomenclator, referring to someone who assigns members of a class names according to a nomenclature. Then we have an adjective, nomenclatural "related to a nomenclature", as in a nomenclatural system.

In Play: "The neophyte in the shop, Rex Moders, doesn't seem to know the nomenclature of tools; I doubt if he will work out here." Sometimes grandparents have trouble keeping up with the nomenclature used by the grandchildren: "For a year now I've been thinking a Pokemon was a proctologist from the Caribbean and wondering where my grandkids picked it up."

Word History: English took today's Good Word from Middle French nomenclature, which it inherited from Latin nomenclatura "calling of names" from nomen "name" + calator "caller, crier" from calare "call out". The nomenclator in Rome was the person who announced the guests at parties by calling out their names. Nomen came from the same source that gave us English name, Dutch naam, Sanskrit nama; Greek onoma, Russian im(en)ya—all meaning "name". Calare comes from the same source as English call and calendar. The latter was derived from Latin calends, the first day of the month, when it was publicly announced on which days the ides (day in the middle of the month) and nones (ninth day before the ides) of that month would fall. (I would call David McWethy a contributor of excellent Good Word suggestions like today's, and think we should all thank him for it.)

Dr. Goodword, alphaDictionary.com

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