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Glossaries and terminology

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This section provides a brief overview of existing glossaries and multilingual "thesaurus" at European level.

Glossaries and terminology

A "glossary" is an alphabetical list of terms in a particular domain of knowledge accompanied by the definitions of those terms. In case of a bilingual glossary, the terms in one language are defined in a second language or glossed by synonyms or near-synonyms in another language. A glossary may be understood as containing explanations of concepts relevant to a certain field of study or action. In the law field, the term "glossary" may refer to two different tools: on the one hand it is used for a list of expressions with translations provided for each country; on the other hand, it is also used for a list of definitions for terminology.


At European level, the following glossaries exist:


Link opens in new windowIATE (InterActive Terminology for Europe) is a multilingual term database used for translations within the European institutions.

It consists of a search engine for expressions and phrases used in all areas of European Union activity. It requires rather professional knowledge of the target language in order to be used properly. It is a very useful tool for professional translators while not being wholly suitable for the general public, judicial authorities or legal professionals. Therefore, the translations of expressions and phrases are entered by the translators themselves to create new references or supplement existing ones. Suggestions for translations are provided for several, but not in all, official languages of the European Union.

Access to this database is free of charge.

Glossary of the European Judicial Network (EJN) in civil and commercial matters

A glossary of terminology is available on the Link opens in new windowwebsite of the EJN. It consists of short definitions (in 22 languages) of the expressions used on different pages of this website in order to help the reader to understand them. They are not presented as authoritative legal definitions.

Access to this page is free of charge.

Dictionary of synonyms

EUROVOC Thesaurus

Link opens in new windowEUROVOC is a multilingual thesaurus (compilation of comparative multilingual vocabulary) covering the fields in which the European Union is active. It provides a means of indexing the documents in the documentation systems of the European institutions and of their users.

This thesaurus exists in 22 official languages of the European Union (except Irish) as well as Croatian.

A compilation of a legal multilingual vocabulary is under preparation. In a preliminary phase two micro-thesauri will be prepared on rights and duties of foreigners and family matters. The implementation of this project is planned for 2011-2013.

This page is maintained by the European Commission. The information on this page does not necessarily reflect the official position of the European Commission. The Commission accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever with regard to any information or data contained or referred to in this document. Please refer to the legal notice with regard to copyright rules for European pages.

Last update: 27/01/2015