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and are exactly synonymous. They are two different names for the time period and culture of Europe between the fall of Rome and the Renaissance. I suggest keeping Medieval as it is the overwhelmingly preferred term on this stack and in scholarly discussion in general.


ACTION: Once you've posted/read/analyzed the answers below and come to a decision, pro or con, please click the tag. To the right of the orange "Watch Tag" button you'll see a list of links, one of which reads (currently), "Synonyms (1)". Click that link. Near the bottom you'll see a section titles "suggested synonyms:" Click the appropriate up-vote or down-vote arrow. If the vote gets to +4, the synonym is accepted. If it falls to -2, it's automatically deleted from the queue.

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I agree with this proposal

The two terms are synonymous and is more popular.

NOTE: There is also a tag which is already a synonym of . That merger was a consequence of this previous Meta discussion about whether or not it made sense to simplify time reference to a set of "era" tags. The outcome of that more comprehensive request was not to do it, however I think it would make a LOT of sense to rename the many era tags to include a prefix (e.g. "era-") so that once someone found one such tag, they could trivially search to find all the tags without having to cross-list them all in each tag's wiki.

An up-vote for this answer is NOT indicating support for the Note, which primarily serves to link that previous discussion.

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Merging the tags makes sense to me. Thanks for bringing this up on meta to draw attention to it. I've proposed middle-ages as a synonym for medieval to start the approval process.


There's pre-existing functionality for proposing tag synonyms. Once proposed a synonym can be approved by either a vote from the users of the tag, or a moderator.

How do I propose or vote on tag synonyms?

Users with this privilege and a total answer score (total upvotes minus total downvotes) of 5 or more on the tag, can suggest tag synonyms. Users with a total answer score of 5 or more on the tag, can vote for tag synonyms.

How do synonyms get approved?

When a tag synonym proposal reaches a score of 4, it is accepted and becomes active. If a proposed tag synonym reaches a score of -2 it is deleted.

The same page provided guidance on when tags should be synonymized.

When should I propose a tag synonym?

Whenever you see questions being repeatedly tagged with the wrong or incorrect tag -- or multiple tags that mean the same thing -- it's a good idea to propose a tag synonym.

In common parlance both terms mean basically the same thin but the tags' definitions are worded as to be distinct. However this isn't reflected in how tags are used. This distinction is also non-standard and will create confusion if we ever attempted to police it. This is an ideal situation for merging tags given that they are equivalent in everything other than the (non-standard) definitions these tags.

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    $\begingroup$ I have no objection with people asking in meta to propose synonyms, especially when it involves commonly-used tags. The synonym queue isn't obvious and isn't frequented by people. So it's a good idea to bring these issues to people's attention. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Oct 24, 2023 at 16:24
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    $\begingroup$ I completely agree. That queue isn't just non-obvious it's hidden. It seems like the only way to get a synonym approved is to draw attention to it on meta. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Oct 24, 2023 at 16:45
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    $\begingroup$ Not only is the synonyms page not obvious but there is a tag score requirement to both propose and also vote for synonym proposals. Thus even if a synonym should be obvious, a user might not be able to propose or vote for it. $\endgroup$
    – VLAZ
    Oct 24, 2023 at 16:54
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Silly idea. The Middle Ages and Medieval are not synonymous. But they are to persons who are Eurocentric in their historical and cultural outlooks. For example, Medieval China does not overlap with the European Middle Ages. Look to the history of India and Japan for other examples.

Medieval is a general type of cultural and technological level for a society and can be applied to a number of societies outside of Europe. The Middle Ages refers to a specific historical time period in Europe. The two don't necessarily overlap in time.

Pardon my beginning this answer with a perjorative sentence. On a site like this one expects a more globally enlightened worldview. Finding its absence is annoying.

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    $\begingroup$ And yet one or two simple researches could prove you wrong 🔍 : Here, here or here (a trusted source in French for the same word, just with accents). Medieval etymology also tells itself Middle-Age in Latin. In comparison, Japan eras are divided in periods (e.g.: the Edo or Kamakura period). So if you are (very) pedantic you should not use the medieval term at all there! [...] $\endgroup$ Oct 26, 2023 at 7:50
  • $\begingroup$ [...] But ok, let's assume that beyond one being an adjective and another a noun, "Middle-Age" is a strict subset of "medieval". You're missing the point of how people use tags, and why this tag merge has been requested. People use tags to quickly find what they want. Quickening this search applies both to managing strict synonyms and grouping tags which encompass more specific ones. Refusing it for the only reason of not being synonymous is like you're refusing to bake a cake 🎂 for two people because it's not their birthday for one, forgetting it is for the other. $\endgroup$ Oct 26, 2023 at 7:50
  • $\begingroup$ Do we want era tags? I wholly agree that we should have a better worldview. Tried once. Too few people wanted it. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Oct 26, 2023 at 18:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Tortliena Yes if you're going for historical precision. Edo or Kamakura are more correct. Am I missing the point of how people use tags? No. My background is in the information management. Yes tags are used to find information they want, but it helps if the classification system has validity. Your cake baking analogy applies better to the request for tag change. My reason for refusal isn't because the tags aren't synonyms, it's because the change doesn't do any good. The synonym argument was used by the requester. I debunked it. $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Oct 28, 2023 at 0:15

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