Suppose I invent a phrase to describe a particular thing, such as "the three-particle paradigm", which is a new paradigm that I have developed to think about a certain field within particle physics.

I'm looking for alternatives to the words phrase or term to describe "the three-particle paradigm". Is it correct to refer to this one phrase as a nomenclature? Or is nomenclature more for a collection of words encompassing a bigger body of knowledge?

If nomenclature is invalid, please provide alternatives.

The reason I'm looking for a word like this is that I want to explain why I chose these words, such as:

Allow me to explain the nomenclature "the three-particle paradigm": First, there are three particles. Second, ...

Using phrase doesn't sound too good to me.

  • Nomenclature is properly the act of assigning names or the system of names thus assigned. Just one name is exactly that: a name. "Allow me to explain the name X"--nothing fancier is needed. Sep 22, 2012 at 1:03
  • @StoneyB Name is bit plain. Come to think of it, I think designation may work. Sep 22, 2012 at 1:06
  • Nah, designation seems weird too... Sep 22, 2012 at 1:07
  • Why not leave out that part? 'Allow me to explain the three_particle paradigm ...' seems good enough. That said, I don't see why term is a bad choice here.
    – Alok
    Sep 22, 2012 at 1:08
  • Why not definition or defined term?
    – bib
    Sep 22, 2012 at 1:26

1 Answer 1


While nomenclature has a sense (now obsolete) corresponding to “name”, its more usual meanings “A set of names or terms” and “A set of rules used for forming the names or terms in a particular field of arts or sciences” don't apply to your need. Instead consider synonyms of name, such as appellation (“A name, title or designation”). A little less formally, you might use moniker.

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