Definition of lumper in English:



  • 1A docker, especially one who unloads cargoes from fishing boats.

  • 2A person (especially a taxonomist) who attaches more importance to similarities than to differences in classification.

    Contrasted with splitter
    • ‘There are three kinds of historians: lumpers, who use highly technical terminology; splitters, who catalog broad similarities among various events and people; and those who record the differences.’
    • ‘One sometimes sees the difference between splitters and lumpers presented as one of taste and personality.’
    • ‘Charles Darwin divided taxonomists into lumpers and splitters.’
    • ‘As evidenced by review of his work, he was a lumper who frequently grouped a variety of valid cyrtospiriferid species under one name.’
    • ‘He said that he tended to be a lumper and felt that the splitters had often created many more species than the evidence justified, which he said is a ‘huge problem’ in paleoanthropology.’
    • ‘Nonetheless I notice some hardcore lumpers are already expressing doubts.’
    • ‘Of course whether a species should be retained in a former genus or placed in a new one is often an arbitrary choice, which brings us to the battle between the splitters and the lumpers.’
    • ‘What looks like one phenomenon to a lumper may look like three to a splitter.’
    • ‘The splitters of linguistics have this problem: they're just not as interesting as the lumpers.’