General English

General Science

  • noun a series of guide marks along the edge of a piece of film or a strip of microfilm


  • noun a list of items classified into groups or put in alphabetical order
  • noun a regular statistical report which shows rises and falls in prices, values, or levels
  • noun a figure based on the current market price of shares on a stock exchange
  • verb to link a payment to an index


  • noun an alphabetical list of references to page numbers found at the end of a book or long document


  • noun the address to be used that is the result of an offset value added to a start location.
  • verb to put marks against items so that they will be selected and sorted to form an index


  • A quantitative measure, usually of something the measurement of which is not straightforward, such as an average of many diverse prices, or a concept such as economic development or human rights.


  • A list or table which serves to guide or facilitate reference. Also, to create such a list or table.
  • In computers, a list or table together with references or keys which serve to identify and locate the contents of disks, directories, files, records, or the like. Also, to create such a list or table. Also, to locate information through the use of the references or keys of said index.
  • An index (2) used in a database. Also, to create such an index. Also, to locate information through the use of the references or keys of said index.
  • A number or symbol which usually appears as a subscript or superscript in a mathematical expression, and which indicates an operation to be performed, a specific element within a sequence, and so on. An example would be the use of such a number as a superscript to indicate an exponent.
  • A usually dimensionless quantity indicating a magnitude of a physical quantity or a ratio between two, such as an index of refraction.

Information & Library Science

  • noun an alphabetical list of items contained in a book, document or computer memory
  • noun a system by which the changes in the value of something can be compared or measured
  • noun a finding guide to information on a specific topic
  • verb to compile an alphabetical list of contents

Media Studies

  • noun a front-page list of the contents of a newspaper
  • noun a symbol that calls attention to a particular section or paragraph in a piece of text.
  • noun a list of books which must not be read, especially on religious grounds
  • noun a measurement used in statistics in relation to a norm of 100 – so that an index of 140 would mean that the measurement was 40 per cent higher than the norm

Origin & History of “index”

Latin index originally meant ‘indicator’, and hence more specifically ‘forefinger’ – the finger used for pointing things out. It was based on the same stem, *dik- ‘point out’, as produced Latin dīcere ‘say’ (source of English diction, dictionary, etc). The metaphorically extended sense ‘list of contents’ had already developed in Latin before English took it over. Indicate is a parallel but apparently independent formation.