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Glossary of WordPress Theme Terms

Glossary of WordPress Theme Terms

WordPress developers and theme designers are geeks and geeks like to come up with strange words to use on the Internet. This glossary will help you better understand some of the things we talk about on ThemeSorter. Are we missing any terms? Tell us so we can make this page more useful for everybody.

Ad Code
Ad code is a piece of JavaScript/HTML code provided by an ad network such as Google AdSense that causes an advertisement to show on your site.
Ad-ready themes have built-in space for advertisements. This makes it easier to monetize your website.
Audio Embedding
The ability to include audio clips or music from other websites or by uploading a file.
Auto Image Resizing
Uploaded images are automatically resized and cropped to fit perfectly wherever they are needed.
An avatar is a small pictures representing a user, typically shown on their comments, profile, etc.
Blog is short for "web log". Blogs are usually operated by an individual who provides chronological commentary on any number of topics. Readers can typically write comments on posts.
Child Theme
A child theme is an extension of a parent theme which often acts as a framework.
CMS stands for Content Managament System. A CMS provides a user-friendly administration interface for users to update a website without technical knowledge.
Content Slider
A content slider progresses through a series of slides made up of featured text and/or visual content, usually at the top of a site's homepage.
Cross-browser Compatible
Used to describe a theme or website that is compatible with major browsers (by some definitions, Internet Explorer 6 is no longer a major browser to due its age and declining use).
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are what designers use to control the colors, fonts and layout of a website. In short, it's code that controls the looks of a website.
Custom Colors
The ability to fine-tune the color of individual parts of a theme without design experience.
Custom Fonts
The ability to safely use fonts that are not normally able to be used on the web.
Custom Page Templates
Pages can be created that use pre-made templates offering special layouts and/or functionality.
Custom Shortcodes
Custom shortcodes can be used within your writing to add special features such as buttons.
Custom Widgets
WordPress includes standard widgets such as category links, search box, etc. Custom widgets add additional functionality for sidebars, footers, etc.
Domain Name
A domain name is the web address for your site, such as
Drop-down Menus
Drop-downs are sub-menu items that appear when a primary menu link is hovered upon or clicked.
Fixed Width
The width of a design does not expand or shrink depending on the user's screen size. It is the same width on all screens.
Fluid Width
Fluid width designs change depending on the size of the user's screen.
Theme frameworks extend WordPress in order to streamline theme development. They often support child themes.
File Transfer Protocol. FTP programs are the most common way of uploading files to a web host.
Google Fonts makes it possible to use a collection non-standard fonts on your website.
The WordPress software is released under the GPL license and therefore themes for WordPress should also be (but are not always).
A Gravatar is a globally recognized avatar. It's a small picture of a person who writes a comment.
HTML is a markup language used to construct web pages.
JavaScript is a client-side scripting language often used by developer to create user-friendly features and special effects on a website.
A popular JavaScript library that makes scripting easier for theme developers and that helps create more user-friendly interfaces.
Layered Graphics File
PSD is an image file format used by designers. Adobe Photoshop and other software can be used to modify PSD files. Many themes include the original PSD files for their designs. Fireworks PNG files are similar.
When a smaller image is clicked, the background goes dark in order to highlight the larger image that appears on top of all other content.
Localization is a theme's ability to be translated into other languages by editing text files. Some themes come with multiple languages.
A quicker, shorter and more media-focused form of blogging. Typically one short note, image, video, audio clip, quote or link is posted at at time.
Options Panel
An options page (sometimes called options panel) is a series of settings that help you adjust the appearance, layout and functionality of a theme.
PHP is the programming language that WordPress was written in. It is a very popular language supported by nearly every web host.
Plugins are files that can be added to WordPress to provide a new feature or functionality.
Portable Object (.po) File
A single file that makes it an easier process to translate theme text into different languages.
Another word for a blog entry or article.
WordPress 3.1 introduced multiple post formats: asides, gallery, link, image, quote, status, video, audio and chat.
Post Ratings
Post ratings allow visitors to choose a score for posted content with the average of all ratings appearing to other users.
Premium Theme
A premium theme is a theme that has a professional design and includes customer support. Learn more.
Pull-out Menu
A pull-out menu is one in which a sub-menu appears to the side of a primary menu link when it is hovered upon or clicked.
RSS Feed
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. You can subscribe to an RSS feed to receive the latest posts from a WordPress site.
SEO Optimization
Search engine optimization options built into a theme can help increase a website's search engine rankings.
Side Menu
A vertical-oriented menu that appears on either the left or right side of a theme.
Many WordPress sites and themes have a column on the left or right side that is used to for widgets.
Social Sharing
Many themes include easy ways for visitors to share/bookmark pages on Facebook, Twitter and other social media websites.
Subscription Form
A form that a user can enter their e-mail address into to receive notification of the latest posts.
A tag is a keyword used to describe a post.
Themes, sometimes called templates or skins, are used to change the appearance and sometimes functionality of WordPress.
Threaded Comments
Threaded comments let users reply to other people's comments made on posts. Nearly all premium themes support threaded comments.
Top Menu
A menu that appears at the top of a theme. This is usually in the form of a horizontal bar.
Tumblog (Tumbleog)
See Microblogging.
URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. It's a web address (
Valid Code
Valid XHTML and CSS code complies with W3C Standards for better compatibility across browsers.
Video Embedding
The ability to include video clips from other websites or by uploading a file.
Web Hosting
Web hosting is a service that provides space for your site on the web. It is where you install WordPress.
Blogs were originally called and are sometimes still referred to as weblogs.
Widgets are little tools that can be arranged throughout a theme in order to provide functionality such as social bookmarking.
Widget-ready means a theme can handle the placement of widgets, usually in a sidebar, footer or other areas. Nearly all premium themes are widget-ready.
WordPress is web software that can be used to create and manage blogs and other types of websites.
WP e-Commerce is a free plugin that makes it possible to sell products on a WordPress-powered website.
WYSIWYG stands for "What You See Is What You Get". WordPress includes a visual content editor that provides an interface similar to that of word processing software in order to make it easy to change font size, color, insert images, etc. This means you can create rich web content without knowledge of HTML.

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