Database Normalization is the process of changing the structure of a formal database schema in order to minimize redundancy.

Database theory describes some states of normalization in order to make promises about the nature of queries on them - these are called Normal Forms, often abbreviated 1NF, 2NF, 3NF (and less commonly, 4NF, 5NF, 6NF).

I'm looking for a correct (grammatically and technically) term for describing how normal a database is - something like:

Implications on Database Normality

  • In situations like this, where there is a special technical meaning involved, it's not uncommon to use unusual morphology to limit the term to its technical meaning. If you wanted to distinguish the term from the .. um .. normal meaning of normality, which has a much broader and usually metaphoric base, you could say normalness instead in this context. If there is already no convention in the field (if there were you'd be following it instead of asking this question), choosing the convention yourself and following it consistently in your work is the best policy. – John Lawler Jul 16 '15 at 14:05
  • I personally would stick with normalization and write the sentence to fit normalization and normalized. The meanings in the context of database management are clear and understood in global English. "These doodads affect how normalized the database is." – Val Jul 16 '15 at 14:09
  • Since SE has a specialist section for Database Administration, I'm passing this over there. – Andrew Leach Jul 16 '15 at 14:09
  • If you are looking for a noun phrase, perhaps "degree of normalisation" would fit. – Andriy M Aug 1 '15 at 18:26

I've only ever heard "normalized" and "denormalized". "Sorry, you'll need to update the data in a bunch of places; it's kind of denormalized." So you might hear that a database is "fully normalized", "somewhat denormalized", or "extensively denormalized".


You can say that a database is normalized in 1NF (or 2NF, 3NF, etc.)

You can also say that a database is in 1NF (or 2NF, 3NF, etc.). That's equivalent, even if I would prefer the first sentence.

If you just say that a database is normalized, it means that it's in one of the Normal Forms. I would avoid saying that, because without specifying the NF you don't convey much information to the reader.

Since normalization works through a series of stages, a database in 2NF is also in 1NF (plus no partial dependencies), a database in 3NF is also in 2NF (plus no transitive dependencies), and so on. The process of transforming the database structure in an higher form (e.g. from 1NF to 2NF) is called normalizing a database. The opposite process is called denormalizing a database.

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