General English


  • noun a type or sort of item


  • One of the divisions of the breakdown in construction specifications, smaller than a trade.

Information & Library Science

  • noun a division or class in a system used to group items according to their type


  • noun a classification, the way in which things can be classified


  • noun a group of things or people with particular characteristics in common

Origin & History of “category”

The word category has a rather complicated semantic history. It comes ultimately from Greek katēgorein ‘accuse’, a compound formed from the prefix katá- ‘against’ and agorā́ ‘public assembly’ (source of English agoraphobia and related to gregarious) – hence ‘speak against publicly’. ‘Accuse’ gradually became weakened in meaning to ‘assert, name’, and the derived noun katēgoríā was applied by Aristotle to the enumeration of all classes of things that can be named – hence ‘category’. The word reached English via late Latin catēgoria or French catégorie.