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Trivial name

In chemistry and zoology, a trivial name (also a common name or vernacular name) is a non-systematic name. That is, the name is not recognised according to the rules of any formal (e.g. IUPAC) system of nomenclature. Many trivial names continue to be used because their sanctioned equivalents are considered too cumbersome for everyday use. For example, "tartaric acid", a compound found in wine, has a systematic name of 2,3-dihydroxybutanedioic acid. Similarly, the fish known as the tiger muskellunge is formally known as Esox masquinongy x Esox lucius.

Trivial names often have their roots in the common language; in chemistry they may come from historic usages in, for example, alchemy. Many of the names pre-date the institution of formal naming conventions. Frequently, trivial names derive from some notable property of the thing being named.

Trivial names, generally, are not useful in describing the essential properties of the thing being named such as the molecular structure of a chemical compound or the phylogenetic relationships of organisms. In some cases, trivial names can be ambiguous or will carry different meanings in different industries or in different geographic regions. On the other hand, systematic names can be so convoluted and difficult to parse that the trivial name is preferred. For example, the most important structural feature of Diazonamide is that it's a nonribosomal peptide, which is denoted by the suffix "amide".

Additional recommended knowledge



Organic chemistry

  • tert-Amyl alcohol — 2-Methylbutan-2-ol
  • Carbolic acid — Phenol
  • Chloroform — Trichloromethane
  • Chloroprene — 2-Chloro-1,3-butadiene
  • Freon — Dichlorodifluoromethane
  • Isopropyl alcohol — Propan-2-ol
  • Pinacolone — 3,3-Dimethylbutan-2-one
  • Caffeine — 1,3,7-trimethyl-1H-purine-2,6(3H,7H)-dione
  • Cholesterol — 10,13-dimethyl-17-(6-methylheptan-2-yl)-2,3,4,7,8,9,11,12,14,15,16,17-dodecahydro-1H-cyclopenta[a]phenanthren-3-ol

Inorganic chemistry


  • Mountain lion or Cougar or Catamount - Puma concolor
  • Rainbow trout or Steelhead - Oncorhynchus mykiss
  • Elk or Wapiti - Cervus canadensis
  • Brook trout or Speckled trout - Salvelinus fontinalis

See also

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Trivial_name". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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