Educational Glossary

On this page, you will find our Educational Glossary – the terms that we use at school in reports and our Compass communications.



Term Definition
abstract nouns a noun denoting an idea, quality, or state rather than a concrete object, e.g. truth, danger, happiness
alliteration the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words eg. The big beautiful butterfly
antonyms a word opposite in meaning to another e.g. bad and good
clause a unit of grammatical organization, smaller than a sentence
confirming establish the truth or correctness of (something previously believed or suspected to be the case)
Consonant-Vowel-Consonant (CVC) words eg. cat, dog, mat, win
contrast the state of being strikingly different from something else in juxtaposition or close association
cross-checking to verify a word is read correctly by checking it against sources eg. pictures, letter sounds and if it makes sense
digraph a combination of two letters representing one sound, as in ph and ey
graph one letter representing one sound
homophones each of two or more words having the same pronunciation but different meanings, origins, or spelling eg. By, buy and bye
information text an information text is a piece of non-fiction writing which gives information about a particular thing eg. Cleopatra, Ancient Egypt, recycling or volcanoes
intonation the rise and fall of the voice in speaking
juxtaposition the fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect
language innovations modern use of language eg. SMS, email
long vowels a vowel which is normally pronounced somewhat longer than other vowels (usually around 1½ to double length) eg. The /a/ sound in acorn, the /ea/ sound in beam
metaphors a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable
morphemic any of the minimal grammatical units of a language, each constituting a word or meaningful part of a word, that cannot be divided into smaller independent grammatical parts eg. the -ed of waited
onset and rime The “onset” is the initial phonological unit of any word (e.g. c in cat) and the term “rime” refers to the string of letters that follow, usually a vowel and final consonants (e.g. at in cat)
personification the attribution of a personal nature or human characteristics to something non-human, or the representation of an abstract quality in human form
pronouns a word that can function as a noun phrase used by itself and that refers either to the participants in the discourse (e.g. I, you) or to someone or something mentioned elsewhere in the discourse (e.g. she, it, this)
recount a recount text is a text which tells about something that happened in the past
re-reading read (a text) again
segmenting divide (something) into separate parts or sections
short vowels short vowels are vowel sounds that are pronounced in a short form eg. ‘pet’, ‘pot’, ‘put’, ‘putt’, ‘pat’ and ‘pit’
similes a figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind, used to make a description more emphatic or vivid e.g. as brave as a lion
suffix a morpheme added at the end of a word to form a derivative e.g. -ation, -fy, -ing, -itis
syllabification the division of words into syllables, either in speech or in writing
synonyms a word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word or phrase in the same language, for example, shut is a synonym of close
trigraph a group of three letters representing one sound, eg. The ‘igh in sigh, or the ‘air’ in fair
vowel graph a letter, or group of letters, that make a vowel (a,e,i,o,u) sound eg. ‘ee’, ‘aw’ ‘ow’


The link below is to an extended glossary, produced by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority. It contains an expanded list, with diagrams, which families may find useful.

English Glossary




Term Definition
Cartesian plane see attached file
composite numbers a whole number that can be made by multiplying other whole numbers eg. 6 can be made by 2 × 3 so 6 is a composite number
factors to factor a number means to break it up into numbers that can be multiplied together to get the original number eg. 6 = 3 x 2 so, factors of 6 are 3 and 2
function machine a Function Machine is a diagram that represents a machine that takes an input, applies a rule such as a set of operations and delivers the answer as an output
half turn whole, half and quarter turns are measured in degrees. They can either be clockwise or anti-clockwise
index notation a way of representing repeated multiplications of the same number by writing the number as a base with the number of repeats written as a small number to its upper right
irregular shape while regular shapes have sides that are all equal and interior (inside) angles that are all equal, irregular shapes have sides and angles of any length and size
mean the average of a group of number. Example: in {6, 3, 9, 6, 6, 5, 9, 3} the Mean is 5.875
median to find the median, place the numbers in value order and find the middle number. Example: to find the median of {6, 3, 6, 6, 5, 9, 3} you order the numbers {3, 3, 5, 6, 6, 6, 9, 9} there is not a single number located in the middle so the average of the two central numbers becomes the median, in this example the median is ‘6’
mode the number which appears most often in a set of numbers. Example: in {6, 3, 9, 6, 6, 5, 9, 3} the mode is 6 (it occurs most often).
multiples multiples of a number include all the numbers that result from multiplying that number by any whole number Eg 7×1=7, 7×2=14, 7×3=21, therefore 7, 14 and 21 are all multiples of 7
number sequence based on multiples 7, 14, 21, 28, 35 … is a number sequence based on the multiples of ‘7’
transformation see attached file
partitions/partitioning partitioning is a way of working out maths problems that involve large numbers by splitting them into smaller units so they’re easier to work with eg. 12 might be partitioned to 10+2, 148 might be partitioned to 100+40+8
prime numbers a prime number is a whole number greater than 1 whose only factors are 1 and itself
probability represented as a fraction a 50% probability of an event may be represented by saying there is 1/2 (half) a chance of it occurring
quadrilaterals a four sided shape with 4 internal angles
quarter turn whole, half and quarter turns are measured in degrees. They can either be clockwise or anti-clockwise
range the difference between the highest and lowest numbers in a set of numbers Example: in {3, 3, 5, 6, 6, 6, 9, 9} the difference between 3, the lowest value, and 9, the highest value is 6, so the range of this set of data is 6
regular shape a shape that has sides of the same length and angles that are all equal
rotational symmetry rotational symmetry is when an object is rotated around a centre point (turned) a number of degrees and the object appear the same. The order of symmetry is the number of positions the object looks the same in a 360-degree rotation
symmetry see attached file
transformation of a 2D shape see attached file
triangular numbers see attached file


The link below is to an extended glossary, produced by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority. It contains an expanded list, with diagrams, which families may find useful.

Mathematics Glossary