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An indication of the intended usage of the term of a SNOMED CT description when applied to the associated concept.


  1. The description type is represented by the value of the description.typeId attribute.
  2. Permitted values include the following (other types may be defined in future):

    Table 1: Description types

    typeId (with term)

    Further information

    A term unique among active descriptions in SNOMED CT that names the meaning of a concept code in a manner that is intended to be unambiguous and stable across multiple contexts (see fully specified name (FSN)).

    A term that is an acceptable way to express a the meaning of a SNOMED CT concept (see synonym).

    An additional textual description applied to some SNOMED CT concepts that provides additional information about the intended meaning or usage of the concept (see textual definition ).

  3. The  preferred term is the synonym marked as preferred for use in the Language Reference Set for a given language or dialect (it is not a distinct description type).

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