I'm searching a word that could replace the phrase "number of classes".

In detail, I'm writing a paper in which I'm speaking about a classification method, and the number of classes is one of its parameters. I would like to use a one-word term as a name for this parameter.

I thought about "granularity" but unfortunately, this term is used to represent another well-known concept in the same domain I'm working on. So, I would avoid it. Coarseness and graininess, although known to be synonyms of granularity, they do not have the exact meaning I'm searching for, which is the degree of division in a classification.

Thank you.

  • Like scope?
    – Davo
    Jun 9, 2017 at 12:49
  • Call the parameter number_of_classes or num_classes or nb_classes or...
    – Drew
    Jun 9, 2017 at 13:57
  • Would taxa work?
    – Phil Sweet
    Jun 9, 2017 at 21:36
  • In my COBOL days, we called it numclasses or if that was too long, numclass. Jun 10, 2017 at 4:17

4 Answers 4


I think granularity is the correct word, but since that is out of court, I'd consider the following options:

  1. Specificity: "The quality or condition of being specific" (M-W). The more granular the sub-divisions, the more specific they become.
  2. Narrowness or Width: Width is defined by M-W as "largeness of extent or scope". Narrowness as "limited in size or scope". The bins to which @satnam refers are often described as narrow or wide. Naturally, wide bins can contain more data.
  3. Degree of Aggregation or Disaggregation: Data collected together from disparate groups is said to be aggregated, when it is separated is is said to be disaggregated. According to M-W, aggregation can be defined as "the collecting of units or parts into a mass or whole".

Does 'enumeration' suit your situation ?

the action of mentioning a number of things one by one.
"(e.g.) the complete enumeration of all possible genetic states "

(Oxford Dictionaries)

or 'compendium' -

  1. a full list or inventory:
    a compendium of their complaints.

(Random House Dictionary, via Dictionary.com)

  • Hi, welcome to EL&U! This is a good first answer. I've added citations and links to what I take to be the sources of your definitions, to bring it in line with our usual standards. If I got the sources wrong or you'd prefer to do this differently, please feel free to roll back the changes or make further edits. It can also be helpful to add a line or two of your own, explaining why you think the suggestion fits the OP's particular circumstances. Good luck!
    – 1006a
    Jun 11, 2017 at 5:19
  • By using enumeration and compendium we have to add "of classes" to obtain the complete meaning. Actually, I'm searching one word that could be understood without adding "of classes".
    – user77791
    Jun 12, 2017 at 11:15

In statistics, 'bins' is used to the same effect. Oxford dictionary states its meaning as

Each of a series of ranges of numerical value into which data are sorted in statistical analysis

It would be helpful in finding a better word if you could provide more background for your use case.


How about "bucket"?

You can think of it in terms of bucket count and bucket size. Visualizing a line of shot glasses vs a line of garbage cans (bins to the British speakers).

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