Technical definition

A technical definition is a definition in technical communication describing or explaining technical terminology. Technical definitions are used to introduce the vocabulary which makes communication in a particular field succinct and unambiguous. (For example, the "illiac crest" from medical terminology is the top ridge of the hip bone. (See illium.))

Types of technical definitions

There are three main types of technical definitions. [Johnson-Sheehan, R: "Technical Communication Today", pages 507-522. Pearson Longman, 2007]
# Parenthetical definitions
# Sentence definitions
# Extended definitions

Parenthetical definitions

Parenthetical definition are used to introduce words by using a synonym or short description immediately after the word. The synonym or description usually delimited by parenthesis (hence the definition) or commas.


Aniline, a benzene ring with an amine group, is a versatile chemical used in many organic syntheses.

The genus "Helogale" (dwarf mongooses) contains two species.

entence definitions

These definitions generally appear in three different places: with in the text, in margin notes, or in a glossary. Regardless of position in the document, most sentence definitions follow the basic form of term, category, and distinguishing features.


A major scale is a diatonic scale which has the semitone interval pattern 2-2-1-2-2-2-1.
* term: major scale
* category: diatonic scales
* distinguishing features: semitone interval pattern 2-2-1-2-2-2-1

In mathematics, an abelian group is a group which is commutative.
* term: abelian group
* category: mathematical groups
* distinguishing features: commutative

Extended definitions

When a term needs to be explained in great detail and precision, an extended definition is used. They can range in size from a few sentences to many pages. Shorter ones are usually found in the text, and lengthy definitions are placed in a glossary.


Encyclopaedias are full of extended definitions. Most of the pages on Wikipedia are extended definitions, and you are reading one right now.


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Technical architecture — is one of several architecture domains that form the pillars of an enterprise architecture or solution architecture. It describes the structure and behaviour of the technology infrastructure of an enterprise, solution or system. It covers the… …   Wikipedia

  • technical — ▪ I. technical technical 2 noun 1. technicals [plural] FINANCE signs that show the way prices are moving on the stock and that help people to calculate what will happen to the price of shares etc in the future: • The market technicals gave …   Financial and business terms

  • Technical diving — Technical diver during a decompression stop. Technical diving (sometimes referred to as Tec diving) is a form of scuba diving that exceeds the scope of recreational diving (although the vast majority of technical divers dive for recreation and… …   Wikipedia

  • Technical communication — is the process of conveying usable information through writing or speech about a specific domain to an intended audience. Information is usable if the intended audience is able to perform an action or make a decision based on its contents… …   Wikipedia

  • Technical terminology — is the specialized vocabulary of a field. These terms have specific definitions within the field, which is not necessarily the same as their meaning in common use. Jargon is similar, but more informal in definition and use, while legal terms of… …   Wikipedia

  • Technical drawing — Drafter at work …   Wikipedia

  • Technical analysis — Financial markets Public market Exchange Securities Bond market Fixed income Corporate bond Government bond Municipal bond …   Wikipedia

  • Technical Presentation — OverviewTechnical presentations serve engineering, scientific and high tech purposes, describing advances in technology, problem resolution, product design and project status. In general, technical presentations serve one of two purposes: (1) to… …   Wikipedia

  • Technical Surveillance Counter-Measures — TSCM (Technical Surveillance Counter Measures) is the original Unites States military abbreviation denoting the process of bug sweeping or electronic countersurveillance. It is related to ELINT, SIGINT and Electronic countermeasures (ECM).The… …   Wikipedia

  • Technical features new to Windows Vista — This article is part of a series on Windows Vista New features Overview Technical and core system Security and safety Networking technologies I/O technologies Management and administration Removed features …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.