What is the difference between terminology and nomenclature?

If I want to say that I use the same words with the exact same meaning as author X, what would you say?

  • "We use the same terminology as author X"


  • "We use the same nomenclature as author X"

3 Answers 3


I see very little difference between the two:

terminology |ˌtərməˈnäləjē| noun ( pl. -gies) the body of terms used with a particular technical application in a subject of study, theory, profession, etc. : the terminology of semiotics | specialized terminologies for higher education.

nomenclature |ˈnōmənˌklā ch ər| noun the devising or choosing of names for things, esp. in a science or other discipline. • the body or system of such names in a particular field : the nomenclature of chemical compounds.formal the term or terms applied to someone or something : “customers” was preferred to the original nomenclature “passengers.”

Based on these definitions from NOAD, terminology seems a little broader, that is all, while nomenclature seems more systematic and deliberate.

  • Can't downvote, but I would because the cited definitions clearly show that the two terms are distinct in meaning (as @WillMadden's answer points this out beautifully), and the final editorializing is only to mislead readers
    – toraritte
    Commented Jun 7, 2021 at 3:26

Terminology is the specific names used in a particular field, while nomenclature is the system or method for devising new names.

E.g. in chemistry names for compounds are derived from the structure of the compound. The nomenclature determines the way the names are formed, whereas terms like "compound", "exothermic" and "reaction" are part of the terminology of chemistry.

Having said that, both words are frequently (if incorrectly) used interchangeably.


There isn't any difference in meaning between the two example sentences but the two words have some different uses, for example, nomenclature can also refer to a single term or name and terminology can also mean 'nomenclature as a field of study'.

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