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A Concept is considered to be fully defined if its defining characteristics are sufficient to define it relative to its immediate supertype(s). A Concept which is not fully defined is Primitive and this is indicated by the value of the definitionStatusId field.

Example: 233604007 |Pneumonia| is a lung disease but unless defining characteristics are specified that effectively distinguish 233604007 |pneumonia| from other lung diseases then it is regarded as a primitive Concept.

If a Concept is primitive then the defining characteristics for that Concept are incomplete. It is not possible to automatically compute that a Concept represented as a postcoordinated combination of several Concepts is or is not a subtype of a particular primitive Concept.

Example: The Concept "lung disease" qualified by 246075003 |causative agent| = 41146007 |bacteria| may be 233604007 |pneumonia| but could also be "bronchitis."

In contrast if a Concept is fully defined it is possible to state that any Concept represented as a combination of the same defining characteristics is equivalent to or a subtype of that Concept.

Example: Assume that the Concept 53084003 |bacterial pneumonia| is fully defined as 312342009 |infective pneumonia| with 246075003 |causative agent| = 41146007 |bacteria| and that 9861002 |pneumococcus| is a 41146007 |bacteria|. It then follows that the post coordinated representation of 233607000 |pneumococcal pneumonia| as 312342009 |infective pneumonia| with 246075003 |causative agent| = 9861002 |pneumococcus| is computably a subtype of |bacterial pneumonia.|