In relational databases, a table consists of rows, and each row consists of fields. But these terms refer to the actual data stored within the database.

What I am trying to come up with is a set of related terms to use when talking about the schema of a relational database.

In a database schema, there is no such thing as a row, and instead of fields we have columns. But what is the equivalent of a table in a schema? In other words, what would be a good word to refer to a set of columns, with no data attached to it?

Terms that I have examined so far:

Colonnade: (as in, a collection of columns) it very nicely fits the bill, except that it is liable to be perceived as too weird by others reviewing my design.

Type: (as in the type of a table) this term already has way too many meanings, I would rather not reuse it.

Header: (as in, the heading row of a table) it kind of works, but what I do not like about it is that it alludes to low-level network programming rather than relational databases.

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    Table structure?
    – Bookeater
    Oct 22, 2016 at 9:19
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    Helo, Mike. This sort of question doesn't fit well with the ELU format; answers will be of the 'What about ...?' nature: non-definitive, as you're trying to come up with novel usages, and speculative. ELU deals with the study of English usages, and questions are required to cover topics of use to more than people in such a narrow field. I suggest you try an IT-related website for suggestions. Oct 22, 2016 at 9:20
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it belongs on another site, either in the Stack Exchange network or elsewhere. Oct 22, 2016 at 9:21
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    I believe we normally use table for both meanings. If you want to be technical, you can call it a relation. Or, if you're still at the ERD stage, an entity. Oct 22, 2016 at 9:25

1 Answer 1


See Wikipedia: Database schema for relevant information. Columns are defined in database schemas, whereas fields are part of database queries. Table is used for both schemas and queries.

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