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In
biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanisms, Development ...

biology
, a common name of a
taxon In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechani ...
or
organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological ...

organism
(also known as a vernacular name, English name,
colloquial Colloquialism or colloquial language is the linguistic style used for casual (informal) communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-Eur ...
name,
trivial name In chemistry Chemistry is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in ...
, trivial epithet, country name, popular name, or farmer's name) is a name that is based on the normal language of everyday life; and is often contrasted with the
scientific name In taxonomy Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may also refer to a specific classification scheme. Originally used only ...
for the same organism, which is Latinized. A common name is sometimes frequently used, but that is not always the case. Sometimes common names are created by authorities on one particular subject, in an attempt to make it possible for members of the general public (including such interested parties as fishermen, farmers, etc.) to be able to refer to one particular species of organism without needing to be able to memorise or pronounce the Latinized scientific name. Creating an "official" list of common names can also be an attempt to standardize the use of common names, which can sometimes vary a great deal between one part of a country and another, as well as between one country and another country, even where the same language is spoken in both places.List of standardised Australian fish names
November 2004 Draft
.
CSIRO The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is an Australian Government The Australian Government, also known as the Commonwealth Government, is the national government of Australia Australia, offici ...

CSIRO


Use as part of folk taxonomy

A common name intrinsically plays a part in a classification of objects, typically an incomplete and informal classification, in which some names are degenerate examples in that they are unique and lack reference to any other name, as is the case with say, ''
ginkgo ''Ginkgo'' is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), circums ...

ginkgo
'', ''
okapi The okapi (; ''Okapia johnstoni''), also known as the forest giraffe, Congolese giraffe, or zebra giraffe, is an artiodactyl mammal that is endemic to the northeast Democratic Republic of the Congo in central Africa. Although the okapi has st ...

okapi
'', and ''
ratel The honey badger (''Mellivora capensis''), also known as the ratel ( or ), is a mammal Mammals (from Latin language, Latin , 'breast') are a group of vertebrate animals constituting the class (biology), class Mammalia (), and characteri ...

ratel
''.
Folk taxonomy A folk taxonomy is a vernacular name, naming system, as distinct from Taxonomy (general), scientific taxonomy. Folk biological classification is the way people traditionally describe and organize their natural surroundings/the world around them, ...
, which is a classification of objects using common names, has no formal rules and need not be consistent or logical in its assignment of names, so that say, not all flies are called flies (for example
Braulidae Braulidae, or bee louse, is a family of fly (Diptera Flies are insects of the Order (biology), order Diptera, the name being derived from the Ancient Greek, Greek δι- ''di-'' "two", and πτερόν ''pteron'' "wing". Insects of this orde ...
, the so-called "bee lice") and not every animal called a fly is indeed a fly (such as dragonflies and mayflies). In contrast, scientific or
biological nomenclature Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''organismos'') is any individual contiguous system that embodies the Life#Biology, prope ...
is a global system that attempts to denote particular organisms or taxa uniquely and definitively, on the assumption that such organisms or taxa are
well-defined In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and t ...
and generally also have well-defined interrelationships; accordingly the
ICZN The International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) is a widely accepted convention Convention may refer to: * Convention (norm), a custom or tradition, a standard of presentation or conduct ** Treaty, an agreement in international law * C ...
has formal rules for biological nomenclature and convenes periodic international meetings to further that purpose.


Common names and the binomial system

The form of scientific names for organisms, called
binomial nomenclature In taxonomy Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may also refer to a specific classification scheme. Originally used only ...
, is superficially similar to the noun-adjective form of
vernacular A vernacular or vernacular language refers to the language or dialect that is spoken by people that are inhabiting a particular country or region. The vernacular is typically the native language, normally Spoken language, spoken informally rath ...
names or common names which were used by prehistoric cultures. A collective name such as ''owl'' was made more precise by the addition of an adjective such as ''screech''.
Linnaeus Carl Linnaeus (; 23 May 1707 – 10 January 1778), also known after his Nobility#Ennoblement, ennoblement as Carl von Linné#Blunt, Blunt (2004), p. 171. (), was a Swedish botanist, zoologist, taxonomist, and physician who formalised binomi ...

Linnaeus
himself published a
flora Flora is all the plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy into chemical energy that, through cellular respiration, ca ...

flora
of his homeland Sweden, '' Flora Svecica'' (1745), and in this, he recorded the Swedish common names, region by region, as well as the scientific names. The Swedish common names were all binomials (e.g. plant no. 84 Råg-losta and plant no. 85 Ren-losta); the vernacular binomial system thus preceded his scientific binomial system. Linnaean authority William T. Stearn said:


Geographic range of use

The geographic range over which a particularly common name is used varies; some common names have a very local application, while others are virtually universal within a particular language. Some such names even apply across ranges of languages; the word for ''cat'', for instance, is easily recognizable in most
Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languages ** List of ancient Germanic peoples and tribes * Germanic languages :* Proto-Germanic language, a reconstructed proto-language of ...

Germanic
and many
Romance languages The Romance languages, less commonly Latin or Neo-Latin languages, are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin, is non-literary Literature broadly is any collection of w ...

Romance languages
. Many vernacular names, however, are restricted to a single country and colloquial names to local districts.


Constraints and problems

Common names are used in the writings of both
professional A professional is a member of a profession or any person who earns a living from a specified professional activity. The term also describes the standards of education and training that prepare members of the profession with the particular knowled ...
s and
laymen In religious organizations, the laity consists of all members who are not part of the clergy Clergy are formal leaders within established s. Their roles and functions vary in different religious traditions, but usually involve presiding over ...
. Lay people sometimes object to the use of scientific names over common names, but the use of scientific names can be defended, as it is in these remarks from a book on marine fish: * Because ''common names often have a very local distribution'', we find that the same fish in a single area may have several common names. * Because of ''ignorance of relevant biological facts among the lay public'', a single species of fish may be called by several common names, because individuals in the species differ in appearance depending on their maturity, gender, or can vary in appearance as a morphological response to their natural surroundings, i.e. ecophenotypic variation. * In contrast to common names, formal
taxonomic Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may also refer to a specific classification scheme. Originally used only about biological ...
names imply ''biological relationships between similarly named creatures''. * Because of ''incidental events, contact with other languages, or simple confusion'', common names in a given region will sometimes ''change with time''. * In a book that lists over 1200 species of fishes ''more than half have no widely recognised common name''; they either are too nondescript or too rarely seen to have earned any widely accepted common name. * Conversely, a ''single common name often applies to multiple species'' of fishes. The lay public might simply not recognise or care about subtle differences in appearance between only very distantly related species. * Many species that are rare, or lack economic importance, do not have a common name.


Coining common names

In scientific binomial nomenclature, names commonly are derived from
classical Classical may refer to: European antiquity *Classical antiquity, a period of history from roughly the 7th or 8th century B.C.E. to the 5th century C.E. centered on the Mediterranean Sea *Classical architecture, architecture derived from Greek and ...
or
modern Modern may refer to: History *Modern history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's past. It is informed by archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recov ...
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...
or
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
or
Latinised Latinisation or Latinization can refer to: * Latinisation of names, the practice of rendering a non-Latin name in a Latin style * Latinisation in the Soviet Union, the campaign in the USSR during the 1920s and 1930s to replace traditional writing sy ...
forms of vernacular words or coinages; such names generally are difficult for laymen to learn, remember, and pronounce and so, in such books as field guides, biologists commonly publish lists of coined common names. Many examples of such common names simply are attempts to translate the Latinised name into English or some other vernacular. Such translation may be confusing in itself, or confusingly inaccurate, for example, ''gratiosus'' does not mean "gracile" and ''gracilis'' does not mean "graceful". The practice of coining common names has long been discouraged; ''Laws of Botanical Nomenclature'', 1868, the non-binding recommendations that form the basis of the modern (now binding)
International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants The ''International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants'' (ICN) is the set of rules and recommendations dealing with the formal botanical name A botanical name is a formal scientific name Science (from the Latin Latin (, ...
contains the following:
Art. 68. Every friend of science ought to be opposed to the introduction into a modern language of names of plants that are not already there unless they are derived from a Latin botanical name that has undergone but a slight alteration. ... ought the fabrication of names termed vulgar names, totally different from Latin ones, to be proscribed. The public to whom they are addressed derives no advantage from them because they are novelties. work, ''The Vegetable Kingdom,'' would have been better relished in England had not the author introduced into it so many new English names, that are to be found in no dictionary, and that do not preclude the necessity of learning with what Latin names they are synonymous. A tolerable idea may be given of the danger of too great a multiplicity of vulgar names, by imagining what geography would be, or, for instance, the Post-office administration, supposing every town had a totally different name in every language.
Various bodies and the authors of many technical and semi-technical books do not simply adapt existing common names for various organisms; they try to coin (and put into common use) comprehensive, useful, authoritative, and standardised lists of new names. The purpose typically is: * to create names from scratch where no common names exist * to impose a particular choice of name where there is more than one common name * to improve existing common names * to replace them with names that conform more to the relatedness of the organisms Other attempts to reconcile differences between widely separated regions, traditions, and languages, by arbitrarily imposing nomenclature, often reflect narrow perspectives and have unfortunate outcomes. For example, members of the genus ''
Burhinus ''Burhinus'' is a genus of bird in the family Burhinidae. This family also contains the genus ''Esacus.''del Hoyo J, Elliott A, Sargatal J (1996) ''Handbook of the Birds of the World'', ''vol 3.'' Lynx, Barcelona The genus name ''Burhinus'' comes ...
'' occur in Australia, Southern Africa, Eurasia, and South America. A recent trend in field manuals and bird lists is to use the name "
thick-knee The stone-curlews, also known as dikkops or thick-knees, consist of nine species within the family Burhinidae, and are found throughout the tropical and temperate parts of the world, with two or more species occurring in some areas of Africa, Asia ...
" for members of the genus. This, in spite of the fact that the majority of the species occur in non-English-speaking regions and have various common names, not always English. For example, "Dikkop" is the centuries-old South African vernacular name for their two local species: ''Burhinus capensis'' is the Cape dikkop (or "gewone dikkop", not to mention the presumably much older Zulu name "umBangaqhwa"); ''Burhinus vermiculatus'' is the "water dikkop". The thick joints in question are not even, in fact, the birds’ knees, but the intertarsal joints—in lay terms the ankles. Furthermore, not all species in the genus have “thick knees”, so the thickness of the "knees" of some species is not of clearly descriptive significance. The family Burhinidae has members that have various common names even in English, including “ stone curlews”, so the choice of the name “thick-knees” is not easy to defend but is a clear illustration of the hazards of the facile coinage of terminology.


Lists that include common names


Lists of general interest

;Plants * Plant by common name *
Garden plants A garden is a planned space, usually outdoors, set aside for the display, cultivation, or enjoyment of plants and other forms of nature, as an ideal setting for social or solitary human life. The single feature identifying even the wildest wild ga ...
* Culinary herbs and spices * Poisonous plants * Plants in the Bible *
List of vegetables This is a list of plants that have a culinary role as vegetables. "Vegetable" can be used in several senses, including culinary, botanical and legal. This list includes botanical fruit In botany, a fruit is the seed-bearing structure in ...
* Useful plants ;Animals * Birds by region * Mammals by region ;Plants and animals *
Invasive species An invasive species is an introduced organism that becomes overpopulated and negatively alters its new environment. Although their spread can have beneficial aspects, invasive species adversely affect the invaded habitat Ibex in an ...


Collective nouns

For
collective noun In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languag ...
s for various subjects, see a
list of collective nouns For many animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals Heterotroph, consume organic material, Cellular respiration#A ...
(e.g. a flock of sheep, pack of wolves).


Official lists

Some organizations have created official lists of common names, or guidelines for creating common names, hoping to standardize the use of common names. For example, the Australian Fish Names List or AFNS was compiled through a process involving work by taxonomic and seafood industry experts, drafted using the CAAB (Codes for Australian Aquatic Biota) taxon management system of the
CSIRO The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is an Australian Government The Australian Government, also known as the Commonwealth Government, is the national government of Australia Australia, offici ...

CSIRO
, and including input through public and industry consultations by the Australian Fish Names Committee (AFNC). The AFNS has been an official Australian Standard since July 2007 and has existed in draft form (The Australian Fish Names List) since 2001. Seafood Services Australia (SSA) serve as the Secretariat for the AFNC. SSA is an accredited Standards Australia (Australia's peak non-government standards development organisation) Standards Development The
Entomological Society of America The Entomological Society of America (ESA) was founded in 1889 and today has more than 6,000 members, including educators, extension personnel, consultants, students, researchers, and scientists from agricultural departments, health agencies, ...
maintains a database of official common names of insects, and proposals for new entries must be submitted and reviewed by a formal committee before being added to the listing. A set of guidelines for the creation of English names for birds was published in
The Auk ''The Auk: Ornithological Advances'' is a peer-reviewed scientific journal and the official publication of the American Ornithological Society (AOS). It was established in 1884 and is published quarterly. The journal covers the anatomy Anato ...
in 1978. It gave rise to Birds of the World: Recommended English Names and its Spanish and French companions. The
Academy of the Hebrew Language The Academy of the Hebrew Language ( he, הָאָקָדֶמְיָה לַלָּשׁוֹן הָעִבְרִית, ''ha-akademya la-lashon ha-ivrit'') was established by the Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל; ar, إِسْرَائِ ...

Academy of the Hebrew Language
publish from time to time short dictionaries of common name in Hebrew for species that occur in Israel or surrounding countries e.g. for
Reptilia Reptiles are tetrapod Tetrapods (; from Greek 'four' and 'foot') are four-limbed animals constituting the superclass Tetrapoda . It includes extant and extinct amphibians, reptiles (including dinosaurs and therefore birds), and synapsids ...

Reptilia
in 1938,
Osteichthyes Osteichthyes (), popularly referred to as the bony fish, is a diverse taxonomic Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may al ...

Osteichthyes
in 2012,
Odonata Odonata is an Order (biology), order of flying insects that includes the dragonflies and Damselfly, damselflies. Like most other flying insects (Diptera, flies, beetles, Lepidoptera, and Hymenoptera), they evolved in the early Mesozoic era. Their ...

Odonata
in 2015 etc...


See also

*
Folk taxonomy A folk taxonomy is a vernacular name, naming system, as distinct from Taxonomy (general), scientific taxonomy. Folk biological classification is the way people traditionally describe and organize their natural surroundings/the world around them, ...
* List of historical common names *
Scientific terminology Scientific terminology is the part of the language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing sys ...
* :Plant common names


References


Citations


Sources

* Stearn, William T. (1959). "The Background of Linnaeus's Contributions to the Nomenclature and Methods of Systematic Biology". ''Systematic Zoology'' 8: 4–22.


External links

{{wiktionary
Plant names

Plantas medicinales / Medicinal plants (database)
Biological nomenclature Common names of organisms