Common name

In biology, a common name of a taxon or organism (also known as a vernacular name, English name, colloquial name, 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 for the same organism, which is often based in Latin. A common name is sometimes frequently used, but that is not always the case.[1]

In chemistry, IUPAC defines a common name as one that, although it unambiguously defines a chemical, does not follow the current systematic naming convention, such as acetone, systematically 2-propanone, while a vernacular name describes one used in a lab, trade or industry that does not unambiguously describe a single chemical, such as copper sulfate, which may refer to either copper(I) sulfate or copper(II) sulfate.[2]

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 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.[3]

  1. ^ Kruckeberg, Arthur (1991). The Natural History of Puget Sound Country – Appendix I: The naming of plants and animals. Seattle: University of Washington Press. ISBN 978-0-295-97477-4.
  2. ^ "The Differences Between Types of Chemical Names". Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  3. ^ List of standardised Australian fish names – November 2004 Draft Archived 2016-05-03 at the Wayback Machine. CSIRO

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