It becomes obvious in software development when trying to name a column in DB (entity property in code).

When it comes to naming columns in tables, i look at the values that that column is going to hold and start typing those values on the web, as keywords, trying to find the abstract concept name for them. It takes time and sometimes i end up giving stupid multi-word names.

I am looking for a word, let me call it xxx, to be my first search keyword (like synonym, antonym) to find the name of the abstract concept of the values.

Let me give an example: suppose i am trying to name a column which is going to hold the following values: male, female. If i google "what is xxx of male female", the search result should return "gender".

There must be a word and this must have been answered already, sorry, but, i have not found it, yet. So i am writing here in case somebody redirects me to the answer i am looking for.


I am trying to find their grouping (thanks to @Nitvin) name (kind of reverse-engineering). I am looking for a word; for it, the sentence would be something like this:

xxx of red, blue, white, green: color, hue, shade, ting, ..

xxx of male, female: gender, sex, ..

xxx of Black, Hispanic, White: race

Thank you.

  • 1
    This is a good question, I'd suggest at least another example. eg. 'What is xxx of cow, pig, chicken should return "farm animals"'.
    – dwjohnston
    Mar 23, 2016 at 1:38
  • 1
    @dwjohnston You seem to have misspelled "delicious animals". Mar 23, 2016 at 3:46

3 Answers 3


I am looking for a word, let me call it xxx, to be my first search keyword (like synonym, antonym) to find the name of the abstract concept of the values.

The parallel of synonym and antonym is hypernym:

a word with a broad meaning that more specific words fall under; a superordinate. For example, color is a hypernym of red.

New Oxford American Dictionary

I am not sure this will help you much with your Google search, though.


I think you are looking for classification (or the related taxonomy), Merriam Webster Online gives,

1 : the act or process of classifying

2 a : systematic arrangement in groups or categories according to established criteria; specifically : taxonomy

2 b : class, category

  • I tested this in Google with search the following terms: 1) "classification of male female" returns the wikipedia entry for gender. 2) "classification of hispanic black white" gets the census page on race and ethnicity. 3) "classification of cow pig chicken" gets a couple articles on livestock. However, it fails for "classification of red green blue"- none of the first several results mentions color.
    – cobaltduck
    Mar 24, 2016 at 13:56
  • @cobaltduck Try "classification of cyan magenta yellow black" or "classification of rgb" or "classification of red green blue purple" Mar 24, 2016 at 13:57
  • My criticism is not so much of your answer (I up-voted) but of Google itself, and a caution to the OP that his desired technique will never be foolproof given the current state-of-the-art in internet search algorithms.
    – cobaltduck
    Mar 24, 2016 at 14:01

If you are not searching for a fancy word, I think you can name it grouping.

the action of putting people or things in a group or groups.

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