Synonym (taxonomy)

one of two or more names that apply to the same taxon

Synonyms in taxonomy are similar to normal synonyms, there are two (or more than two) names for the same thing in a scientific classification. For example, the cat has a few scientific names in: Felis silvestris catus, Felis catus, and Felis catus domestica.

In botany, the word "synonym" has a special meaning. There is one "correct name", and the other names are synonyms. For example, Daemonorops draco is the correct name of a species of palm trees, and Calamus draco is a synonym for the same species.

In zoology, there is one "valid name" and the others are "junior synonyms".


  • International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (1999), International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (4th ed.), The International Trust for Zoological Nomenclature, ISBN 978-0-85301-006-7, retrieved 2011-10-21
  • McNeill, J.; Barrie, F. R.; Buck, W. R. & Demoulin, V., eds. (2012), International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (Melbourne Code), Adopted by the Eighteenth International Botanical Congress Melbourne, Australia, July 2011 (electronic ed.), Bratislava: International Association for Plant Taxonomy, archived from the original on 2015-11-15, retrieved 2012-12-20