Words are grouped according to the subjects to which they are related. Words are classified according to the character of their meaning and origin.
A Generic word
is one that pertains to a class of related things, such as fabric
A Specific word
is one that pertains to a definite class of related things, such as silk
. These three words are specific equivalents of the three generic words above.
Note that silk
, itself specific in relation to fabric
, is generic in relation to taffeta
(dyed yarn/silk). Specific words are preferred to generic ones
, because they convey clearer and more forceful meanings.