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Glossary Mining - Part 6: Science from A to Z

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See also:
Glossary Mining - Part 1
Glossary Mining - Down Tunnel No. 2
Glossary Mining - Part 3: Digging for Buried Treasure

Glossary Mining - Part 4: Making It Legal
Glossary Mining - Part 5: Getting Down to Business
Glossary Mining - Part 6: Science from A to Z
Glossary Mining - Part 7: Brush Up Your English

This installment provides a compendium of various Internet resources dealing with scientific subjects – from anthropology to zoology. The focus is on terminology and reference materials for the “pure” sciences, as opposed to the “applied” sciences such as mechanical engineering or metallurgical processes. The list begins with several resources of a general nature and continues in alphabetical order by subject. Once again, most of these items involve English and Spanish, but the list also includes several multilingual glossaries.

General Science


A little bit of everything in these glossaries. The third one is nicely illustrated as well.

Provides links to numerous glossaries for a variety of scientific subjects.


These sites provide articles on a wide range of scientific topics.

Emphasis on ecological terms



Includes both cultural and physical anthropology, as well as an archeology glossary.

Over 2600 terms; searchable with Boolean operators.

One of several different glossaries available from the webref site.


Astronomy and Cosmology


A guide to astronomical bodies of all kinds.

Provides very detailed definitions of the terms.

The glossary of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

An exhaustive 3-part glossary of astrophysics terms.

Two excellent university sites on astronomy; the University of Oregon site includes outstanding graphics, many taken from the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Designed for the younger set, but very useful nevertheless; also includes information about the metric system and scientific notation, plus a section on universal time.

This one is from Cal Space.

Emphasis on cosmic evolution terminology.


Excellent Spanish definitions.

Contains lots of useful cross-references.

Probably the best one for Spanish; the site also includes numerous articles on astronomical subjects; profusely illustrated.

Multimedia presentation on the solar system and beyond.

Very detailed definitions.

Excruciatingly slow, but very good.

Biology and Botany


Covers virtually all of the life sciences, with over 8,000 terms. Also includes a compendium of chemical acronyms, plus links to other useful sites.

Both of these offer very comprehensive coverage of the subject. The second one is a Wiki-style (i.e., user-editable) dictionary.

Molecular biology terms.

Cell biology.

Microbiology terms.

German-English terminology.

Forestry terms.

A good site for genetics terminology.

An excellent hypertextbook

Almost 4,000 entries.

Biotechnology and genetic engineering; 260-page PDF version can be downloaded.

There’s a fungus among us!

Plant pathology terms.

Don’t be misled by the URL. This is an excellent resource for plant anatomy terms, complete with illustrations.

And this glossary is a complement to the previous site, with excellent definitions.


Biotechnology terms.

A general guide to numerous biological topics.

A botanical hypertextbook from the Universidad de Extremadura with animated illustrations.

Plant biology.

Botanical terms.


Plant names featuring less common languages such as Thai.



A good basic term list with some good links to other information.

Both of these offer excellent definitions of chemistry terminology.

One of the best for English organic chemistry terms.

But this one is equally good.

A complete virtual textbook on organic chem.

Claims to be a “living glossary”; however, its last update was made in 1998.

Billed as “The Great Big Chemistry Dictionary”.

Also includes a downloadable (PDF) full-color Periodic Table of the Elements.

Designed primarily for students.

Eric Weinstein’s World of Chemistry glossary.

A very good resource on inorganic chemistry.


Printable version also available at

An excellent on-line resource for organic chemistry.

A Spanish hypertextbook for organic chemistry.

Spanish guide to the Periodic Table.

Extensive English-Spanish clinical chemistry terminology with excellent supporting documentation; versions in TXT, DOC and WPD can be downloaded.

General chemistry terms with good Spanish definitions.


A 5-language glossary of organic chemistry terms (English, Dutch, German, French and Italian).



Two very good resources.

Claims to be illustrated, but nary an illustration to be found in it.

A complete textbook on geology.

Provides numerous links to other sites.

Very good for basic terminology; includes separate section on geological structures and processes, with some animated illustrations.

The site of the Indiana Geological Survey.

This one will make you blow your top!


An excellent glossary from the Spanish Ilustrio Colegio Oficial de Geólogos.

Rocks and minerals.

More mineralogy.

Focus on Mexican geology as well as general concepts.

Nice photographs of structural formations and different types of rocks.

Two very good dictionaries.

English-Spanish with Spanish definitions. This URL takes you to the entries for the letter “a”. Substitute the appropriate letter in the URL for the other entries.

Nicely illustrated glossary of geological processes.




Fifteen languages, including “exotic” ones like Tagalog and Urdu. The entries are in PDF format and include good illustrations of many terms.



U.S. Dept. of Commerce National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s site

Three very nice glossaries of weather terms

Satellite meteorology terms and acronyms


The Peruvian weather bureau’s site; also includes some very interesting articles on weather phenomena.

This one’s from Mexico.

And a good Ecuadorian site.

The site in Spanish.

Glossary of climate change terms



Despite the URL, this one deals with oceanography and related geosciences

Marine biology terms

NASA’s Web site for oceanography

Basic terminology resource

Fluid dynamics of oceans


Chilean encyclopedia of physical oceanography. Each letter of the alphabetic is in a separate PDF file.



Dinosaurs and such

Very detailed, with excellent cross-references

Both of these have good definitions




Six very good basic resources. The last URL also includes a 6-part on-line textbook.

This one is unique because of its extensive cross-references and very detailed definitions.

A basic on-line textbook for physics; nicely illustrated.

More encyclopedic in scope.

A glossary for secondary school students.

Particle physics terminology.


Light and optics terms.


Nuclear terminology.


Liquid crystals.





Basic terms to bring out the animal in you.

Invertebrate zoology.

A very good 37-page glossary.

Provides links to numerous sites containing zoological information.

Gone fishing.


Butterflies and moths; nicely illustrated.

Just bugs.

Fish terminology.


6-language glossary of bird names.

Quadrilingual glossary of beekeeping terms.

Next time: Brush up your English! Internet resources providing help of all kinds on English-language usage.

This article was originally published in The ATA Chronicle.

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