From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
An umbrella term is a term used to cover a broad number of functions or items that all fall under a single common category. Umbrella term is also called a hypernym. For example, cryptology is an umbrella term that encompasses cryptography and cryptanalysis, among other fields. Similarly, an umbrella organization is a central and coordinating body representing a number of smaller, separate bodies.
The closely related blanket term is a word or phrase that is used to describe multiple groups of related things. The degree of relation may vary, even have a minimal relationship, but blanket terms often trade specificity for ease-of-use; in other words, a blanket term by itself gives little detail about the things that it describes or the relationships between them, but is easy to say and remember. Blanket terms may originate as slang, and eventually become integrated into the general vocabulary.
Examples of umbrella terms
- In archaeology and anthropology
- Grave goods
- Venus figurines: (They extend over diverse time periods.)
- Votive deposit: (They are "essentially" in every human culture/"tribe".)
- Standing stone
- In earth science
- Punctuated equilibrium was coined in 1972 in the category of evolution, or speciation, etc., but could obviously be applied to other "topics". Punctuated equilibrium is different from gradualism.
- Straw man (two dictionary definitions)
- Psychokinesis (numerous alleged psychic force abilities described under this term)
- Psychosis (describes nine distinct diagnoses)
- Daltonism (umbrella for various color-blindness problems)
- Intellectual property (umbrella for certain exclusive rights in intangible things)
- Sick sinus syndrome (collection of various heart disease diagnoses typically in elderly individuals)
Examples of blanket terms
- Racial groupings such as White, Asian, and Black
- Other racial groupings such Germanic, Iranian (a scholarly term and not the country), Slav or Bantu (many are ethno-linguistic)
- Personal computer, IBM PC, or IBM PC compatible, for any computer modeled upon the x86 architecture
- iPod or MP3 player, for any type of digital audio player
- R&B, which may refer to black pop music, black ballads, hip hop, funk, Motown
Other umbrella terms