A Glossary of Geography Terms and Definitions (2023)

"Geography is the subject which holds the key to our future." -Michael Palin

Geography is the study and revision of physical features of the Earth and its atmosphere; the three major branches of geography are Human Geography, Physical Geography, and Environmental Geography.

When studying an academic discipline that features much intricate terminology such as geography, it is crucial to depend upon a glossary.

What is a glossary?

A glossary is an alphabetised list containing essential terms and definitions from a specific field of study.

Without further ado, Superprof has lovingly created a glossary of the most essential geography terms for budding geographers.

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Geographic Glossary Terms from A-F

A Glossary of Geography Terms and Definitions (44)

To increase the ability to recall essentialdefinitions from geography, the following are the most common geographic terms from the letters A to F.

Altitude:the vertical height above the sea level.

Archipelago:a group of islands such as the Galapagos or Hawaii.

Atmosphere:defined as an envelope of air, gases, and suspended articlessurrounding the earth; 78.09% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, and 0.96% consisting of 19 other gases.

Biogeography:the geographic study of the distribution of animals and plants on the planet.

Biodiversity:the assortment of species, flora and fauna, found in a specific area.

Biofuel:a fuel that is derived from living or natural matter; gas, alcohol, and dead biological materials are known as biofuel.

Cartography: the art of making maps or mapping.

Climate Change:known asthe variation of climatic conditions and the result of new weather patterns that are distinct from past decades.

(Video) 55 Geographical Terms You Must Know - Let's Talk Geography on the Learning Videos Channel

Conservation:the act of maintaining natural or human-made landscapes just the way they are, without any changes.

Deforestation:the malicious act of cutting down trees and clearingforests for human use.

Delta:a triangular plain at the end or mouth of a river where the soil is deposited.

Drought:a prolonged time with less than average rainfall which can negatively affect living conditions.

Ecosystem:known as a biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment working together and interacting as one whole system.

Environment:it is everything that is around us; all living or non-living things occurring naturally and coexisting together.

Evaporation:the process of water turning into vapour is known as evaporation.

Fauna:all the animal life present in a particular region or time. Typical fauna of Bolivia includes the alpaca, the Andean flamingo, and the capybara.

Flora: the plants of a specific region, geographic location, or geological period. For example, the Scotch Thistle, the Bog Myrtle, and the Gorse is all typical flora of Scotland.

Fossil Fuel:a natural fuel such as gas or coal; it is a fuel source that is formed by natural processes or organisms that have existed for millions of years.

Did you that geography has five themes and that there are distinct types of geography?

Geographic Glossary Terms from G-M

A Glossary of Geography Terms and Definitions (45)

The following definitions begin with the letters G, H, I, J, K, L, and M and aid geography students to remember essential terms.

Geothermal:a source of heat that originates from the Earth.

Global Warming:a gradual increase in the Earth's temperature that has constantly been discussed by environmentalists in recent years. The entrapment of greenhouse gases causes global warming.

Greenhouse Effect:a complex phenomenon when the gases in the Earth's trap the solar radiation as a consequence of atmospheric carbon dioxide, water vapour, and methane. For a more thorough definition visit this link.

(Video) Glossary of geography terms | Wikipedia audio article

Habitat:the area or region where a species of animals or plants reside.

Hemisphere:half of a sphere and since the earth is a sphere it means half the earth. The earth is divided by the equator into two hemispheres: the Northern and the Southern. The eastern and western hemisphere can also be divided by the meridian.

Humidity:the damp heaviness in the air is known as humidity. It is the result of the water vapour content in the atmosphere.

Ice Sheet:massive layers of ice covering an extensive area that is superior to 50,000 square kilometres. Ice sheets can currently be found in Antartica and Greenland.

Inorganic:someone that does originate from natural matter; can be known as inanimate, lifeless, or extinct.

Irrigation:a well-engineered manner of watering agriculture is known as irrigation.

Jet Stream:an airstream having a high-velocity and high-altitude which blows from the west to the east.

Katabatic:a wind that is commonly known as a drainage wind that carries high-intensity air from an elevated point down a slope with the forces of gravity.

Lagoon:a body of water that lies between a reef and a coastline, usually protected by conservationists.

Landslide: not just a famous song recorded by Fleetwood Mac, a landslide is the sliding down of a mass of earth or rock from a mountain or cliff.

Latitude: imaginary horizontal lines on the Earth that are utilised to specify the north or south position of a coordinate on the Earth's surface.

Longitude: imaginary verticle lines used to determine exact geographic coordinates that run along the eastern and western hemisphere of the earth.

Magma: molten rock that is below the surface of the earth; found in the mantle or crust of the planet.

Meteorology:a subbranch of physical geography that involves the study of the atmosphere.

Monsoon:a prevailing seasonal wind that occurs during two seasons: summer (wet monsoon) and winter (dry monsoon).

(Video) Geography from A to Z: A Picture Glossary

Check out our articles about geography facts and famous geographers.

Geographic Glossary Terms from N-S

A Glossary of Geography Terms and Definitions (46)

Want to know common geography expressions that start with the letters, N, O, P, Q, R, and S? The following provides the necessary information.

Natural Resources:substances that occur naturally in nature and have a commercial value.

North Pole:the point on the Northern Hemisphere of the earth that is farthest North; 90 degrees North of the equator.

Oasis:a fertile watering hole in a geographically arid place such as a desert. It is formed since there was water previously present in the specific area.

Ocean Current: the flow of ocean water in a defined direction.

Omnivore:not a herbivore and not a carnivore, omnivores refer to animals or people who indulge in both plants and meat.

Pesticide:chemical substances used to exterminate pests or insects and prevent their infestation.

Physical Weathering:also commonly known as mechanical weathering, is the breaking down of rocks by natural agents such as wind and running water.

Plateau:a large area of flat and relatively high ground.

Quarry:an open-air mine from which rocks and minerals can be extracted.

Ravine:narrower than a canyon and the product of stream cutting erosion; usually very narrow and quite deep.

Renewable Resources:a natural resource that is naturally restorative that is more than the rate of human consumption. Examples include geothermal energy, hydroelectricity, and solar power.

Run-off:a term used for water from rain or melting snow that does not get absorbed into the soil.

Sandbar:a long and narrow sandbank that is usually located near the mouth of a river. It is built by the action of tides, currents, and waves.

(Video) A glossary of geographical terms part 1- words start from A

Savanna:tropical grasslands with scattered vegetation primarily located on the African continent.

Stratosphere:part of the earth's atmosphere that lies below the mesosphere and the troposphere. It is located from 10kms to 50kms above the surface of the earth.

Geographic Glossary Terms from T-Z

A Glossary of Geography Terms and Definitions (47)

Topographic Map:a large-scale map that represents both natural and man-made two-dimensional surface features.

Toxic Waste:waste material that is composed of chemical compounds which can cause serious illness or death if inhaled or consumed.

Tundra:a vast and treeless region located in the Arctic and subarctic regions of the world such as Green, Europe, and North America.

Urban Climate:the current climate condition of a large metropolitan area that is different from the climate experienced in rural areas.

Vent:a pipe like opening in the earth's crust that directs the flow of volcanic material.

Volcano:a landform or mountain that through which lava, rock fragments, hot vapour, and gas erupt from the earth's crust. Read this link to learn about famous volcanic eruptions.

Wadi:an Arabic term for a valley or ravine located in the Middle East or Northern Africa. It remains dry all year except for during the rainy season.

Waterlogged:an object is heavily filled with water; it seems to be heavy or unmanageable.

Wilderness:a wild and uncultivated region such as a forest or a desert; no one lives there, it is only inhabited by wild animals.

Wind Erosion:the erosion of material caused by the action of wind.

Yield:in geography, the term yield refers to produce by a natural process or in return for cultivation. For example, a farmer's yield of corn varies from year to year.

Zeugen:a mushroom-shaped rock that has been eroded by the intense action of windblown sand. Mostly found in deserts all over the world.

There you have it geography enthusiasts, 60 plus of the most common geography words and definitions that should be referred to when studying geographic information; we all forget sometimes and well-organised glossaries aid our memory to recall essential facts and explanations.

(Video) Basic Geography | Learn English | Vocabulary | English Pronunciation | With Video | 🏔🌋🏝

Nevertheless, even with a failing memory, it is important to recall that geography rules!


What is a glossary in geography? ›

This glossary of geography terms is a list of definitions of terms and concepts used in geography and related fields, including Earth science, oceanography, cartography, and human geography, as well as those describing spatial dimension, topographical features, natural resources, and the collection, analysis, and ...

What are the 5 geographical terms? ›

The five themes of geography are location, place, human-environment interaction, movement, and region.

What are the three terms of geography? ›

There are three main strands of geography:
  • Physical geography: nature and the effects it has on people and/or the environment.
  • Human geography: concerned with people.
  • Environmental geography: how people can harm or protect the environment.

Who is the father of geography? ›

Eratosthenes, the ancient Greek scholar is called the 'father of geography. He was the first one to use the word geography and he also had a small-scale notion of the planet that helped him to determine the circumference of the earth.

What is a key in geography? ›

cay, also spelled key, small, low island, usually sandy, situated on a coral reef platform. Such islands are commonly referred to as keys in Florida and parts of the Caribbean. Sand cays are usually built on the edge of the coral platform, opposite the direction from which the prevailing winds blow.

What is a geographical dictionary called? ›

A gazetteer is a geographical index or directory used in conjunction with a map or atlas. It typically contains information concerning the geographical makeup, social statistics and physical features of a country, region, or continent.

What are the 2 types of location? ›

Geographers can describe the location of a place in one of two ways: absolute and relative. Both are descriptives of where a geographic location is. Let's learn about the difference between absolute and relative location.

What are the 6 essential elements of geography? ›

The six elements organize the eighteen national standards and include: the world in spatial terms, places and regions, physical systems, human systems, environment and society, and the uses of geography. These elements help us understand how people and places are connected in the world.

What is geography PDF? ›

Geography is the study of the. location and distribution of living things, earth's features, and natural resources. In essence, Geography is concerned with the. a) Location. b) Spatial and distribution of living and non-living things patterns and relations.

What are the 4 types of geography? ›

Different Types of Geography
  • Human Geography.
  • Physical Geography.
  • Environmental Geography.
  • Cartography.
26 Mar 2019

What are 4 types of human geography? ›

Types of Human Geography

Cultural geography, economic geography, health geography, historical geography, political geography, population geography, rural geography, and social geography are examples of sub-disciplinary studies in human geography that focus on distinct aspects of human activity and organization.

Who first used the term geography? ›

'Geography' derives from the Greek γεωγραφία – geographia, literally "Earth-writing", that is, description or writing about the Earth. The first person to use the word geography was Eratosthenes (276–194 BC).

How many types of geography are there? ›

Geography is often organized into three branches: human geography, physical geography, and technical geography.

Why do we study geography? ›

Geography helps us to explore and understand space and place - recognising the great differences in cultures, political systems, economies, landscapes and environments across the world, and exploring the links between them.

Who is the second father of geography? ›

Hecataeus of Miletus
Bornc. 550 BC Miletus (now Balat, Aydın, Turkey)
Diedc. 476 BC (aged 74)
Scientific career
FieldsHistory and geography
1 more row

What are the 3 types of map symbols? ›

There are three types of map symbols:
  • Point Symbols= buildings, dipping tanks, trigonometrical beacons.
  • Line Symbols= railways, roads, power lines, telephone lines.
  • Area Symbols=cultivation, orchards and vineyards, pans.

What is a symbol on a map? ›

A symbol is an abstraction or pictorial representation of something else. Symbols on a map consist of discrete points, lines, or shaded areas; they have size, form, and (usually) color. Map symbols present information collectively, leading to appreciation of form, relative position, distribution, and structure.

What are two essential elements geography? ›

The six essential elements are The World in Spatial Terms, Places and Regions, Physical Systems, Human Systems, Environment and Society, and The Uses of Geography.

What is an atlas in geography? ›

An atlas is a collection of maps. Some maps are specific, such as road maps or, like this one, sky maps. This sky map displays information about constellations and other celestial objects visible in the Northern Hemisphere.

Who is the writer of dictionary of Geography? ›

About the Author

Susan Mayhew has taught geography at every level - from Year 7 to undergraduate - for 45 years, and is dedicated to the demystification of geography.

What is on a physical map? ›

Physical maps provide information about relief or topography or the shape, depth, and height of the natural features. These physical features include deserts, mountains, water bodies, and other identifiable landforms.

What is a location name? ›

The name of a place. For example, the name of the place where a Professor or Research Scholar exchange visitor will be participating in his/her program activity outside the United States.

What do we use longitude for? ›

The Earth is divided into degrees of longitude and latitude which helps us measure location and time using a single standard. When used together, longitude and latitude define a specific location through geographical coordinates.

What are the six types of geography? ›

The six essential elements of geography are The World in Spatial Terms, Places and Regions, Physical Systems, Human Systems, Environment and Society, and Uses of Geography. The essential elements help geographers classify Earth's phenomenon and characteristics.

What is the most important element of geography? ›

Places and regions are important aspects of geography as they represent a physical area with its own social and cultural characteristics. People create regions to interpret the earth's complexity. Regions are defined by boundaries that are determined by natural features such as rivers, mountain ranges, or deserts.

What are the 10 types of geography? ›

Physical geography includes geomorphology, climatology, meteorology, glaciology, hydrology, oceanography, biogeography, pedology, and ecology. Human geography can be economic, political, health, urban, military, cultural, or population geography.

What is nature geography? ›

Through geography we seek to understand these differences in patterns of human distribution, interrelationships between human society and the physical environment, people's use of the Earth in time and space, and how these differences are related to people's cultures and economies.

What is the most important type of geography? ›

IMPORTANCE  Physical geography is very important for understanding various things about countries and regions of the world.  It helps to determine the economics of a nation.  Is a key to understand history, economics, weather, resource management, and humanity in general.

What are types of maps? ›

According to the ICSM (Intergovernmental Committee on Surveying and Mapping), there are five different types of maps: General Reference, Topographical, Thematic, Navigation Charts and Cadastral Maps and Plans.

What are the 5 importance of geography? ›

It's more important than you think — learning geography will help you better understand news, help fight climate change, be a part of a global community, understand cultures, and learn history.

What are geography tools? ›

What is a geographic tool? By definition, it is a tool related to geography, a science that deals with the earth and its life. Commonly used geographic tools are maps, atlases, gazetteers (geographical dictionaries), and postal guides. A town is a specific place somewhere on planet earth.

What is geography summary? ›

Geography is the study of places and the relationships between people and their environments. Geographers explore both the physical properties of Earth's surface and the human societies spread across it.

Is geography a science? ›

Geography is the science that studies the relationships among areas, natural systems, cultural activities and the interdependence of all these over space. Why is Geography unique among all disciplines? Its primary concern with how things are distributed on the earth's surface.

What is a synonym for geography? ›

In this page you can discover 23 synonyms, antonyms, idiomatic expressions, and related words for geography, like: earth-science, geology, geographics, physical-geography, topography, science, economic geography, biology, economics, geopolitics and mathematics.

What is modern geography? ›

Modern Geography: A Description of the Empires, Kingdoms, States, and Colonies with the Oceans, Seas, and Isles; in All Parts of the World: Including the Most Recent Discoveries, and Political Alterations, Digested on a New Plan.

Who used the word space in geography? ›

Explanation: The word 'space' in geography first used by Emrys Jones.

What is a broad in geography? ›

1a : having ample extent from side to side or between limits broad shoulders … one of the broadest estuaries of any river in America.— William Styron. b : having a specified extension from side to side made the path 10 feet broad. 2 : extending far and wide : spacious the broad plains.

What is a geography word that starts with y? ›

Yield - the amount produced. In agriculture it is usually a measure of the tones of useable produce per unit area.

What is meant by relief in geography? ›

Relief is the variations in the elevation of the ground surface, also features of height above a plain or reference datum. On a relief map, relief is depicted by hachures or shading, or, more accurately, by contours or by spot elevations or both. This relief map shows elevation contours.

What is exploitation geography? ›

The exploitation of natural resources is the use of natural resources for economic growth, sometimes with a negative connotation of accompanying environmental degradation.

What is region and its types? ›

A region is an area of land that has common features. A region can be defined by natural or artificial features. Language, government, or religion can define a region, as can forests, wildlife, or climate. Regions, large or small, are the basic units of geography.

What is the importance of region? ›

Regions are territories that are specific and recognizable in physical, geographical, historical and socioeconomic terms, so that citizens are identified with them. The region is a link between local communities and the state. The regional level of government brings together jobs at the local and national level.

What is a wide ranging? ›

adjective. If you describe something as wide-ranging, you mean it deals with or affects a great variety of different things.

What is see in geography? ›

Acronym. Definition. SEE. South East(ern) Europe.

What is a geography word that starts with a? ›

Atlas: A collection of maps of the planet Earth. Atoll: A coral reef or an island in the shape of a ring. Altitude: Altitude is the measure of elevation above sea level. Arctic: the regions north of the Arctic Circle centered on the North Pole.

What is geo culture? ›

Geoculture combines what is cultural and what is geographic by way of intercultural communication and international relations. It is about how what is the cultural (ideas, rituals, objects) get distributed across geography (space).

What is contour in geography? ›

map: contour lines. contour line, a line on a map representing an imaginary line on the land surface, all points of which are at the same elevation above a datum plane, usually mean sea level.

What is slope in geography? ›

1 Definition. A slope is the rise or fall of the land surface. It is important for the farmer or irrigator to identify the slopes on the land. A slope is easy to recognize in a hilly area. Start climbing from the foot of a hill toward the top, this is called a rising slope (see Fig.

What are contour lines? ›

A contour line is a line drawn on a topographic map to indicate ground elevation or depression. A contour interval is the vertical distance or difference in elevation between contour lines.

What are the 4 types of natural resources? ›

Oil, coal, natural gas, metals, stone and sand are natural resources. Other natural resources are air, sunlight, soil and water.

What is the definition of conflict in geography? ›

Conflict can be defined as a state of discord caused by the actual or perceived opposition of needs, values and interests.

What is geography opportunity? ›

The geography of opportunity refers to the structure of the social, economic, environmental and cultural opportunities faced by different groups that inhabit metropolitan regions (Andersson and Musterd, 2010; Briggs, 2003; Galster and Killen, 1995; Squires and Kubrin, 2005; Wilson and Greenlee, 2016).


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