A collection of terms or entities that are linked either semantically (by meaning) or statistically (by data trends), without adhering to strict hierarchical structures such as genus/species, parent/child, or part/whole relationships. This grouping is based on common characteristics or themes that the items share, allowing for a broad classification that highlights similarities without imposing a rigid framework. Categories facilitate organization and analysis by clustering related items, making it easier to understand and navigate through large sets of data or concepts. Unlike hierarchical classifications, categories offer flexibility, accommodating items that share common attributes without necessitating a direct or exclusive relationship, thereby supporting a more inclusive and associative approach to classification.