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, retrieved 2012-12-20