English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am thinking about the very generic word category and was wondering:

Does the definition of the word category relate more to kind of a box (an item may only be in one and only one box at a time) or more to some kind of a tag (an object may have multiple tags)?

share|improve this question
Think of guitar: two major categories are electric & acoustic; two others are classical (nylon strings) & steel string; two others are 6-string & 12-string; etc. – user21497 May 7 '13 at 8:25
You're asking about the difference between disjoint categories and all categories. There's a whole branch of topology devoted to this. – John Lawler May 7 '13 at 15:40
up vote 3 down vote accepted

A category is a group based on shared characteristics among and between the items included therein. Any object may be placed into any number of categories. For example, a black Labrador retriever is in these categories: dogs, black dogs, Labradors, retrievers, canines, mammals, animals, things with fur, things with four legs, etc.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.