AskDefine | Define taxonomic

Dictionary Definition

taxonomic adj : of or relating to taxonomy; "taxonomic relations"; "a taxonomic designation" [syn: taxonomical]

User Contributed Dictionary



From τάξις (taxis) "arrangement, order" + -νομία (-nomia) "method", from νόμος (-nomos) "law, managing" from νέμειν (nemein) "manage" + ic.


  1. Of, or relating to taxonomy.


of, or relating to taxonomy

Extensive Definition

Taxonomy is the practice and science of classification. The word comes from the Greek , taxis, 'order' + , nomos, 'law' or 'science'. Taxonomies, or taxonomic schemes, are composed of taxonomic units known as taxa (singular taxon), or kinds of things that are arranged frequently in a hierarchical structure, typically related by subtype-supertype relationships, also called parent-child relationships. In such a subtype-supertype relationship the subtype kind of thing has by definition the same constraints as the supertype kind of thing plus one or more additional constraints. For example, car is a subtype of vehicle. So any car is also a vehicle, but not every vehicle is a car. Therefore, a thing needs to satisfy more constraints to be a car than to be a vehicle.


Originally the term taxonomy referred to the classifying of living organisms like cats (now known as alpha taxonomy); however, the term is now applied in a wider, more general sense and now may refer to a classification of things, as well as to the principles underlying such a classification.
Almost anything — animate objects, inanimate objects, places, concepts, events, properties, and relationships — may be classified according to some taxonomic scheme.
The term taxonomy may also apply to relationship schemes other than parent-child hierarchies, such as network structures with other types of relationships. Taxonomies may include single children with multi-parents, for example, "Car" might appear with both parents "Vehicle" and "Steel Mechanisms"; to some however, this merely means that 'car' is a part of several different taxonomies.
A taxonomy might also be a simple organization of kinds of things into groups, or even an alphabetical list. However, the term vocabulary is more appropriate for such a list. In current usage within "Knowledge Management", taxonomies are seen as less broad than ontologies as ontologies apply a larger variety of relation types.
Mathematically, a hierarchical taxonomy is a tree structure of classifications for a given set of objects. It is also named Containment hierarchy. At the top of this structure is a single classification, the root node, that applies to all objects. Nodes below this root are more specific classifications that apply to subsets of the total set of classified objects. So for instance, in common schemes of scientific classification of organisms, the root is called "Organism" followed by nodes for the taxonomic ranks: Domain, kingdom, phylum, class, etc.

Taxonomy and mental classification

Some have argued that the human mind naturally organizes its knowledge of the world into such systems. This view is often based on the epistemology of Immanuel Kant. Anthropologists have observed that taxonomies are generally embedded in local cultural and social systems, and serve various social functions. Perhaps the most well-known and influential study of folk taxonomies is Émile Durkheim's The Elementary Forms of Religious Life.

Various taxonomies

In phylogenetic taxonomy (or cladistic taxonomy), organisms are classified into clades, which are discovered by grouping taxa using derived traits. By using clades as the criteria for separation, cladistic taxonomy, using cladograms, can categorize taxa into unranked groups.
In numerical taxonomy or taximetrics, the field of solving or best-fitting of numerical equations that characterize all measurable quantities of a set of objects is called cluster analysis.

Non-scientific taxonomy

Other taxonomies, such as those analyzed by Durkheim and Lévi-Strauss, are sometimes called folk taxonomies to distinguish them from scientific taxonomies that claim to be disembedded from social relations and thus objective and universal.
The neologism folksonomy should not be confused with "folk taxonomy" (though it is obviously a contraction of the two words). Those who support scientific taxonomies have recently criticized folksonomies by dubbing them "fauxonomies" (French word "faux" means "false").
The phrase "enterprise taxonomy" is used in business to describe a very limited form of taxonomy used only within one organization. An example would be a certain method of classifying trees as "Type A", "Type B" and "Type C" used only by a certain lumber company for categorising log shipments.

See also

taxonomic in Arabic: علم التصنيف
taxonomic in Bosnian: Taksonomija
taxonomic in Breton: Taksinomiezh
taxonomic in Bulgarian: Таксономия
taxonomic in Catalan: Taxonomia
taxonomic in Czech: Taxonomie
taxonomic in Danish: Taksonomi
taxonomic in German: Taxonomie
taxonomic in Estonian: Taksonoomia
taxonomic in Modern Greek (1453-): Συστηματική ταξινόμηση
taxonomic in Spanish: Taxonomía
taxonomic in Esperanto: Taksonomio
taxonomic in French: Taxinomie
taxonomic in Western Frisian: Taksonomy
taxonomic in Galician: Taxonomía
taxonomic in Korean: 분류학
taxonomic in Croatian: Taksonomija
taxonomic in Indonesian: Taksonomi
taxonomic in Italian: Tassonomia
taxonomic in Hebrew: טקסונומיה
taxonomic in Latin: Taxinomia
taxonomic in Lithuanian: Taksonomija
taxonomic in Ligurian: Taxonomïa
taxonomic in Limburgan: Taxonomie
taxonomic in Hungarian: Rendszertan
taxonomic in Malay (macrolanguage): Taksonomi
taxonomic in Dutch: Taxonomie
taxonomic in Japanese: 分類学
taxonomic in Norwegian: Taksonomi
taxonomic in Occitan (post 1500): Taxinomia
taxonomic in Polish: Taksonomia
taxonomic in Portuguese: Taxonomia
taxonomic in Romanian: Taxonomie
taxonomic in Russian: Таксономия
taxonomic in Sicilian: Tassinumìa
taxonomic in Simple English: Taxonomy
taxonomic in Slovak: Taxonómia (biológia)
taxonomic in Slovenian: Taksonomija
taxonomic in Serbian: Таксономија
taxonomic in Serbo-Croatian: Taksonomija
taxonomic in Finnish: Taksonomia
taxonomic in Swedish: Taxonomi
taxonomic in Thai: อนุกรมวิธาน
taxonomic in Vietnamese: Phân loại học
taxonomic in Turkish: Taksonomi
taxonomic in Ukrainian: Таксономія
taxonomic in Yiddish: טאקסאנאמיע
taxonomic in Chinese: 分类学
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