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Umbrella term

An umbrella term is a single common category that covers multiple terms. Umbrella term is also called a hypernym. For example, cryptology is an umbrella term that encompasses cryptography and cryptanalysis, among other fields. Similarly, an umbrella organization is a central and coordinating body representing a number of smaller, separate bodies.

The closely related blanket term is a word or phrase that is used to describe multiple groups of related things. The degree of relation may vary, even have a minimal relationship, but blanket terms often trade specificity for ease-of-use; in other words, a blanket term by itself gives little detail about the things that it describes or the relationships between them, but is easy to say and remember. Blanket terms may originate as slang, and eventually become integrated into the general vocabulary.


Examples of umbrella terms

In archaeology and anthropology
In earth science
  • Straw man (two dictionary definitions)
  • Psychokinesis (numerous alleged psychic force abilities described under this term)
  • Psychosis (describes nine distinct diagnoses)
  • Daltonism (umbrella for various color-blindness problems)
  • Intellectual property (umbrella for certain exclusive rights in intangible things)

Examples of blanket terms

Other umbrella terms

See also


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