Etymology in Nomenclature of Procaryotes

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Abstract

When I was invited to write this chapter I felt flattered. I have always been interested in names, in etymology and semantics. The invitation was probably due to more than 25 years of active membership in the International Committee for Systematic Bacteriology (ICSB) and in the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Systematic Bacteriology, and there especially my self-adopted task of watching the correctness of new Latin names by offering advice in etymology and questions of procaryote nomenclature. What I write hereafter is an outflow of the experiences I have gathered in these tasks including correspondence in etymological (often intertwined with nomenclatural) matters with hundreds of colleagues. Therefore, I shall try to write this chapter from the viewpoint of the microbiologist—as a user; for the user—rather than writing it ex cathedra as a classicist might want to do. Further, what I write here are my own opinions on these matters and they are not meant to offend anyone who has other or better insights.