What is the generic term for a noun that forms part of the main vocabulary of a conceptual system?

For example:

  • A number is a derivative of arithmetic.

  • A word is a derivative of language.

  • An atom is a derivative of chemistry.
  • A border is a derivative of map.

I'm looking for the most appropriate replacement for the word 'derivative' above. Preferably a single word!

  • 2
    Component? Perhaps... Element... though that could be confusing in your chemistry example.
    – Catija
    Jul 10 '15 at 21:39
  • I'd say "element" if it weren't for the chemistry example. Component, perhaps?
    – phoog
    Jul 10 '15 at 21:39
  • @phoog HA HA HA HA HA We said the same thing.
    – Catija
    Jul 10 '15 at 21:39
  • @Catija great minds...
    – phoog
    Jul 10 '15 at 21:39
  • I'd go with term of art
    – user31341
    Jul 10 '15 at 22:03

Perhaps constituent (as a noun)

a component part; ingredient


Similarly, Merriam-Webster

an essential part : component, element


A word is an aspect of language.

An atom is an element of chemistry.

A number is a factor of arithmetic.

A derivative is a component of mathematics.

A border is a facet of a map.

From Oxford:

Facet /ˈfasət/


1.1 A particular aspect or feature of something

  • I disagree strongly with element, factor, and facet in those particular uses. "element" has a specific meaning in Chemistry and there is no element "atom". Similarly, a "factor" is a mathematical term and it is inappropriate to use it here. And I just don't agree with the use of facet, so... yeah.
    – Catija
    Jul 10 '15 at 21:52
  • @Catija Somebody's not a fan of the puns
    – scohe001
    Jul 10 '15 at 22:11
  • Why would you make puns when someone's asking a legitimate question and wanting help? I know people like to have fun here but it's not funny to give people bad information because you think it's a joke.
    – Catija
    Jul 10 '15 at 22:13

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