I know this phrase from usage with DNS as Fully Qualified Domain Name but that's the only use case I'm aware of.

So, 1. I'm wondering what "Fully Qualified" means by itself and how it is applicable to other subjects.

and 2. is "fully qualified" and "unambiguous" interchangeable?

3 Answers 3


Fully Qualified means that whatever it is has all the qualifications which are applicable. This could mean a qualification such as an FQDN has:

qualified adjective
2 not complete or absolute; limited


That is, a fully-qualified domain name is limited to a specific domain, and that limitation in scope is sufficiently stringent to make it unambiguous.

But they could be academic or vocational qualifications:

qualified adjective
1 officially recognized as being trained to perform a particular job; certified


Fully Qualified Cosmetic Professionals Fully Qualified Carpenter

In these cases one would not talk of an "unambiguous carpenter".

  • I understand the case for "fully qualified carpenter" but I don't see how this apply to the FQDN. Sep 10, 2013 at 15:03
  • +11 For this, I was trying to figure out how the original meaning of "qualified" was twisted by techies to mean that a FQDN was more "capable", but it's just a description of the scope of the domain name, that it's fully "narrowed".
    – JeffSahol
    Sep 10, 2013 at 15:15
  • @yaccz to your follow-up question, the "fully qualified" in FQDN relies on a different meaning of the word ("limited or modified in some way") than the "fully qualified carpenter" ("fitted (by training or experience) for a given purpose") ... see definitions here:merriam-webster.com/dictionary/qualified
    – JeffSahol
    Sep 10, 2013 at 15:19
  • @JeffSahol Yes, as in "qualified success"
    – Andrew Leach
    Sep 10, 2013 at 15:20
  • I'm still having difficulty understanding the "not complete or absolute" part. In the case of FQDN it seem to me exactly opposite - FQDN is complete, absolute name. Sep 10, 2013 at 15:25

Wiktionary: Qualification meaning 4 applies to the carpenter, while meaning 1 applies to the Domain Name. The Fully just means that there are no more qualifications required to make someone suitable for the work, or to remove ambiguity.

  • 1
    Please note the following advice in the Help section and supplement your answer accordingly. Provide context for links : Links to external resources are encouraged, but please add context around the link so your fellow users will have some idea what it is and why it’s there. Always quote the most relevant part of an important link, in case the target site is unreachable or goes permanently offline.
    – TrevorD
    Sep 10, 2013 at 17:19

If one uses the Merriam-Webster definition of "qualified":
to characterize by naming an attribute Then, it seems that "fully qualified" would mean: To characterize by naming all attributes. And, that would suggest that there's a standard or agreement as to what "all" means. So, an FQDN example would have "all" as: Top level domain (TLD) like .com Second level domain names (SLD) like "google" for which there may be more than one. Then perhaps a host name like "mymail" or "www". And stating the value of each one makes it Fully Qualified, i.e. having all of the attributes stated. We are used to fully qualified postal addresses when we add USA, North America, Planet Earth, etc. where practice suggests that the continent AND the country needn't both be used and adding the planet is silly. So, one could argue that such addresses aren't "fully qualified" depending on what rules we like to use for "all".

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