a glossary of terms for understanding wordpress

WORDPRESS. I don’t write about it because I am not technically qualified to say much. All my sites were built by me using WordPress and are maintained by me. I was able to follow most directions, even though many were poorly written. It took too much time and was unnecessarily difficult and frustrating—five years and five blogs later and I am still a novice who is continually confounded!

WP Glossary exists to make it easier for you to find your way through the WordPress ecosystem.

To learn a new field, the ability to understand instructions requires understanding technical words and jargon. In many established fields, dictionaries or glossaries are available for beginners. Learning WordPress is no different from learning other fields and many tutorials simply assume the reader understands the words being used.

Until recently, such a thing was not readily available to users, but a new glossary of WordPress-related terms is a labor of love from Anders Norén, a well-known WordPress designer and developer living in Stockholm.

According to Anders:

“For the last couple of years, I have been responsible for writing most of the client documentation at the agencies I’ve worked at. That documentation has usually included some generic information about WordPress and a glossary containing definitions of different terms in the WordPress ecosystem.

The last time I updated the glossary, it hit me that there must be a website for this—a list of WordPress definitions written not for WordPress developers, but for those who manage WordPress websites either as part of their work or in their spare time.

I spent some time looking, but I didn’t find what I was looking for. Most of the definition lists were written for developers, with code examples and lists of relevant functions. But I did find a domain name.”


This is the main page on WP Glossary, where the terms defined on the site are listed alphabetically. The site is crisp and white with a touch of WordPress blue and nothing else to interfere with its function and purpose.

WP Glossary

And that domain name was WP Glossary, which is now a website that is home to the definitions a hundred words that both techies and non-techies (like you and me) come in contact with routinely when using when you use WordPress.

“There are a lot of different terms in the WordPress ecosystem, and getting the hang of what they all mean can be difficult. WP Glossary exists to make it a little bit easier for you to find your way.

WP Glossary contains definitions of most of the words you come into contact with when you’re using WordPress. It’s built for anyone who spends time in the WordPress administration panel, whether you’re a professional using it as part of your job or someone who has a personal WordPress blog.

The definitions are short and to the point, because you’re a busy person with better things to do than to spend all day reading about WordPress user roles.”

Here are definitions of three commonly used terms that are often not fully grasped and understood by the novice:


“Editors can view, edit, publish and delete all content on a website, irregardless of the original author. If a post has been saved as pending by a user with the contributor user role, who can’t publish content on their own, a user with the editor role can publish that pending post. In addition to editing content, editors can also manage categories.”


“The elements included in the header vary from theme to theme and website to website, but some are more frequently occurring than others. It usually includes the name or logo of the website, the main menu, a search field or button for displaying the search field, and links to accounts on social media.”

Child theme

“The theme that the child theme inherits its functionality and styling from is called a parent theme. The parent theme must be installed on the site for the child theme to function. A child theme can be used to customize the styling of the parent theme, add new functionality to it or make other changes that are limited enough in scope that you’d rather not create a new theme from scratch.”


This page on WP Glossary shows the opening paragraph of the definition and description of ‘editor,’ a term regularly confused by normal users who think of someone with glasses and a red pencil when they see the word.

Observations and criticisms

The WP Glossary site is simple, clean, and devoid of the claptrap that makes so many other sites painful to view and difficult to navigate. The site has the requisite search function so readers can look for a word and find it if it’s in the glossary without having to scroll through the list.

Unfortunately, the search service only looks up the keywords in the glossary—it will not look up words used in the text of the definitions. There is a link where readers can suggest a term for Anders to consider adding to the site.

While each entry has a link to allow readers to offer corrections (and therefore suggestions), WP Glossary would certainly benefit by an additional link on each entry where confounded readers could request a specific further explanation of a troubling topic

If this article was of any use to you, consider giving this one a read: Oops! I Do Not Think That Means What You Think It Means


FEATURED IMAGE: Anders Norén also designs beautiful, fully functional WordPress themes and they are free! His themes are based on a simple layout, good legibility, and a conservative number of accent colors. “There’s a place for the big themes with a hundred layouts and a thousand options, but I think that most users want something simple that does the job they’re looking to get done.”

The theme pictured above is Hitchcock, which Anders describes as, “a portfolio theme for designers, photographers, and other creatives.”

To see a live demo of the Hitchcock theme, click here.

To check out the rest of his themes, click here.




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