The Government of Canada’s terminology and linguistic data bank.
Frequently asked questions
- New look in line with the new Government of Canada Web standards set by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.
- Adaptative for all mobile devices: consequently, the ourlanguages.gc.ca on the go! application will not be updated anymore (note: using an outdated version of a browser may cause display problems).
- Easier access to search keys.
- Improved subject field sorting option (pre- and post-search).
- Display options always accessible.
- The alphabetical list of terms (Index) is not displayed by default; it is still accessible by clicking the Alphabetical List of Terms button located above the search results.
- Records containing data from external organizations are now identified with green.
- Interface menu always accessible at the bottom of the page.
- Search strings more visible (now highlighted) in the results.
- You can now submit suggestions.
- Simplified FAQ (replaces the Help function).
- Links to the Language Portal and Writing Tools at the bottom of the page.
- Magnifying glass icon to access sources on terminology records.
What types of information are displayed on a record?
A standard record includes a creation date, linguistic components (English and French and sometimes Spanish or Portuguese, which you can display according to your preferences), one or more subject fields, entries, parameters, textual supports, key terms and sources.
Parameters are uppercase letters located following terms, providing information on the equivalent. They indicate, among other things, the correctness of the term, its gender and usage, the country or region where it is used and its official status, if applicable. Here are the parameters (by category) and each one’s meaning:
- A parameter indicating that the entry term (a title) is used, but is not officially approved.
- NO RATING:
- FORMER NAME:
- CAS NO.:
- CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM CODE:
- FORM CODE:
- A parameter indicating that the entry term is a code given to a form by an organization.
- ISO/IEC 2382 ITEM NO.:
- OCCUPATIONAL CODE:
- PUBLICATION CODE:
- A parameter indicating that the entry term is a chemical, physics or mathematical formula.
- LEGAL ORIGIN:
- Parameters indicating that the entry term comes from a specific federal or provincial act or regulation, i.e. the term was found exclusively in the referenced act or regulation. (They are therefore not used for terms found in several acts or regulations.) The legal origin parameters are the following:
- FEDERAL ACT
- MANITOBA ACT
- NEW BRUNSWICK ACT
- ONTARIO ACT
- QUEBEC ACT
- FEDERAL REGULATIONS
- MANITOBA REGULATIONS
- NEW BRUNSWICK REGULATIONS
- ONTARIO REGULATIONS
- QUEBEC REGULATIONS
- DECEPTIVE COGNATE:
- SEE OBS (see observation):
Parts of speech
Note: A homograph is a word which has the same spelling as another word, but a different meaning.
- ADJ (adjective):
- ADV (adverb):
- ADJ. PHRASE (adjective phrase):
- ADV. PHRASE (adverb phrase):
- NOUN PHRASE:
- VERB PHRASE:
- FEM (feminine):
- A parameter indicating that the entry term is a noun belonging to the feminine gender.
- MASC (masculine):
- A parameter indicating that the entry term is a noun belonging to the masculine gender.
- MASC/FEM (masculine/feminine):
- INVAR (invariable):
- PLUR (plural):
In the case of official titles, these parameters identify the corresponding geographic location or territorial scope. In the other cases, these parameters are used to delimit the region where a term or expression is used.
- Examples of geographic parameters:
- AFRICA, ANTARCTICA, CANADA, FRANCE, GREAT BRITAIN, LATIN AMERICA, MEXICO, NEW BRUNSWICK, SPAIN, USA.
- A parameter indicating that the entry term was adopted by NATO.
- INTERGOV (intergovernmental):
- INTERNAT (international):
- LESS FREQ (less frequent):
- A parameter indicating that the entry term has an unfavourable connotation.
Official status parameters
- Parameter indicating that the entry term is recommended by a standardizing body.
- OFFICIALLY APPROVED:
The textual supports DEF (definition), CONT (context), OBS (observation) and PHR (phraseologism) provide the definition of the term, an example of the term in a text fragment, terminology, linguistic or technical information, or common combination of a term with a noun, adjective or verb, respectively.
Key terms to help find a record are sometimes included at the bottom of records. These are terms other than those in the entries section of a record, but which are directly related to the concept. They can be spelling or semantic variants, or masculine, feminine, singular or plural forms of the term, or cases of inversion of terms or different formulations (incorrect or outdated) of the concept. If you search using a Words or Terms option, it will also search in the key terms field.
Designations that are common to all languages are recorded as universal entries. Among other things, mathematical symbols, chemical formulas, Latin terms in biology or law, as well as form codes are presented in this field.
At the bottom of some records, you will see a Complementary document button. Click it to display documents providing information to supplement the textual support (definition, observation, etc.).
How do I change my display options?
By default, the English, French and Spanish components are displayed in this order on records and in columns. To change your preferences, click the Display options button (upper right corner of the TERMIUM Plus® home page). For example, if you want to hide the Spanish column, you can select Neither under Option to display the non-official languages (Spanish or Portuguese). This will give you more space for the information displayed in English and in French. When you have finished, click Save my Display Options. You can return to your default display options at any time by clicking Display Options, then Reset to Initial Default Values.
If you wish to hide the textual supports in the records, under Display definitions, contexts, etc., on records select Deactivate display, then click on Save my display options.
How do I do a basic search in TERMIUM Plus®?
Enter the term (which may include one or more words) in the Which term? box. Launch the search by pressing the blue Launch button or Enter.
Records are displayed one after the other starting with the most recent record. The number of results is limited to the 100 most recent records.
What are the Which term? and In which subject field? boxes for?
By default, the TERMIUM Plus® search engine searches in All Terms and in All Fields, in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. For example, if we type “report,” the search engine will search for the term in the main entries for these four languages, whatever the field, regardless of the languages you have selected to display.
In addition to selecting display options for languages that we want to display on the screen, we can modify the search parameters in Which term? and In which subject field? This is intended to either limit or increase the number of results (or the records obtained). You can return to your default display options at any time by clicking on Display Options, then on Reset to Initial Default Values.
Which term? box
Terms in one language (exact term)
- In one language only:
- Exact term:
Words in English, French, Spanish or Portuguese
Words in Definitions and Contexts
English, French, Spanish or Portuguese Records
In which subject field? box
For each concept or term, there are one or more subject fields. In the record, the primary subject field appears at the head of the list (e.g. Cycling for the term “air tube”). The other fields shown are generally applications (or sub-fields; e.g. Wheels and Tires), but the term may also be associated with other fields (e.g. Motorized Sports).
First, you can search in All fields, then, if you get too many results, limit the search by clicking on Filter results by subject field, and selecting a subject field that may apply. You can also type in the term sought and right away select a subject field (only one at a time). A search by subject field can be done either before or after launching the search. However, it is often preferable to run an All fields search first, since limiting yourself at the outset to a single field may result in relevant records being overlooked.
- Which term? box
What is the Alphabetical list of terms button for?
It can sometimes be useful, after researching a term, to consult the alphabetical list of terms. To do this, click on the black Alphabetical list of terms button; the list will be displayed on the left. For example, entering “airflow” in the Which term? box yields fewer than ten records, yet the alphabetical list of terms shows that there are many terms starting with this word (“airflow control,” “airflow pattern,” “airflow rate,” etc). Clicking on Previous or Next brings up the preceding or following series of entries in the list.
Usually, the alphabetical list of terms displays only the English and French terms. However, if you set your display options to show a third language, the terms in that language will also be included in the alphabetical list of terms.
What can I do when no records are found for my search?
- Check the spelling of the search term.
- When searching in English, enter the Canadian, British and US forms.
- Search singular and then plural forms.
- Search masculine then feminine forms.
- Search synonyms and spelling variants of the term.
- Use wild cards (* or ?) and Boolean operators (+ , !) to refine your search.
Wild cards are used to find variants of a term. They can be inserted anywhere in the expression queried except at the beginning and are used without spaces.
Boolean operators (or logical operators) allow for searches to be broadened or for certain terms to be excluded. They are used in searches by Word or by Record only. There is no space either before or after an operator.
- AND [+]:
- OR [,]:
- AND NOT [!]:
Terms containing wild cards or Boolean operators
The search engine cannot always find records whose entries contain characters that are also used as substitutes (asterisk or question mark) or as Boolean operators (plus sign, comma or exclamation mark); this is particularly true for the names of chemical substances. To obtain records matching these terms, use the Terms (exact term) option, omit these characters or replace them with spaces. For example:
Stop words are words or characters that do not need to be entered to get results, since the engine does not take them into account in the search. They are replaced by spaces. For example, to find the equivalent of the English term “Declaration on Refugee Protection for Women,” you can type “declaration refugee protection women” using the English terms option.
- In French:
- In English:
- a, an, and, at, but, by, for, from, in, nor, of, on, or, s, the, to, with
- In Spanish:
- a, al, con, de, del, e, el, en, la, las, lo, los, ni, o, para, por, u, un, una, uno, y
- In Portuguese:
- a, da, das, de, do, dos, e, em, o, ou, para, sobre, um, uma
If the term in question contains one of the following characters, it must be entered for the search engine to be able to find the corresponding records: underscore (_), equal sign (=) and the digits 0 to 9. For example, “H2O feedback.”
To find a term that contains a special character, like “liquid ß-radioactive waste,” you could type “liquid*radioactive waste” (using the asterisk as a wild card) or type “liquid beta radioactive waste.” You can also enter a special character by using the code for it. For example, to enter the “β” in “liquid β-radioactive waste,” use the ALT+0946 code.
What is the magnifying glass immediately following the entries or textual support on a record for?
The magnifying glass gives access to the origin (source) of the entry term or its textual support (definition, context, observations, etc). This source may be a document, a Web site or a person.
What is the grey Search History button for?
TERMIUM Plus® saves the terms found during a session. You can click on the grey Search history button (under the Which term? box) to see the list of terms previously found. You just have to click on a term to renew the search. Either the whole list or individual records in it can be deleted using the garbage can icon.
What is the grey Saved Records button for?
TERMIUM Plus® allows you to save the results of your searches and print records individually.
The Save record button in the top right corner of each record is used to copy the content of a record into a separate window of the navigator. To see the records saved, click on the grey Saved Records button (under the Which term? box).
How do I print a record?
Search results can be printed directly from the screen or by using the Saved Records button. In either case, you just have to click on File and Print in your browser’s menu (or press Ctrl-P, then Print).
What is the grey Suggestions button for?
The Suggestions button allows you to submit your comments or suggest changes to a record.
Can I add a shortcut to the application on my mobile device’s home screen?
Yes, you can add a shortcut to your mobile device’s home screen for quick access to the application.
First, from your mobile device’s web browser, go to the application’s home screen. Then, since the procedure for adding a shortcut varies for different types of mobile devices, we recommend that you read the user manual for your device.
Once you have added the shortcut, the icon will appear on your device’s home screen, allowing you quick access to the application.
What can I do if the pages are not displaying properly?
If you usually browse in compatibility mode, try changing your browser’s compatibility view settings (under Tools in IE 11).
Language Portal of Canada
Access a collection of Canadian resources on all aspects of English and French, including quizzes.
The Language Portal’s writing tools have a new look! Easy to consult, they give you access to a wealth of information that will help you write better in English and French.
Glossaries and vocabularies
Access Translation Bureau glossaries and vocabularies.
- Date Modified: