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


Textual definitions are distributed in a file that follows the same structure as the Description file (RF2) but the terms permitted by the "textual definition" are much longer the 255 character limited applied to synonyms and fully specified names. Textual definitions are not essential for SNOMED CT implementations but they are useful as they provide narrative Descriptions of concepts that may be easier to understand than the shorter terms.


These descriptions go beyond the detail of the Fully Specified Name as shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Textual Definition

Concept Id

Fully Specified Name

Textual Definition


Brittle diabetes mellitus (finding)

Diabetes mellitus in which there are frequent, clinically significant fluctuations in blood glucose levels both above and below levels expected to be achieved by available therapies.