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A Term is a word or phrase that is used in at least one context (and/or for specific purposes) to refer to a specific concept. As a concequence:
- the meaning of a Term may vary across contexts. For example, in the context of a buty-salon, the term 'nail' has a different meaning than in the context of constructing buildings.
- different terms (in different contexts) may refer to the same concept (synonymity).
The terminology pattern provides an overview of how this concept fits in with related concepts.
Understanding words or phrases uttered by others requires that we are able to 'translate' them terms into terms that we habitually use. While this is mostly an automatism, and it often is not necessary to be all that precise, this may be different when they relate to stuff we find important. The ability to refer to a specific concept with a specific text or phrase, where this 'linking' is limited to a specific (or several) context(s) helps us to better interpret the intentsion of what others convey in spoken or written language.
There is an important distinction between concepts and the (multitude of) terms (names, labels) that we need to be able to talk and reason (argue) about them. Please consider that
- different terms are used in different contexts for the same concept
- in different contexts, a single term may refer to different concepts
- to resolve terminological disputes, which usually are about the 'correct' meaning of a term, try to establish the criteria that the different participants use for the concept behind the term. That helps participants understand each others (different) positions, and provides a better basis for resolving the conflict.