A few minutes ago, I was in need (for coding purposes) of finding a more general term for notions such as city, village, town, etc. Now, whereas I could just try a few options (e.g. locality? municipality?), look up their meanings in the dictionary, and go with one, it got me wondering about the problem in more general.
So are there any systematic ways to look up such words? I haven't noticed anything like this in thesauri (or maybe I just haven't been paying attention).
Is any such database of hierarchies of meanings even known to exist and be freely available?
(as to the tags of this post: feel free to correct those; I'm not at all sure yet how tags work in this stack exchange)