The NICE glossary provides brief definitions and explanations of terms used on the website. The terms describe how NICE works and how its guidance is produced.

Our glossary excludes specific clinical and medical terms. If you cannot find the term you are looking for, please email us so that we can consider adding it to the glossary.

Some definitions and examples are based on those in the HTAi consumer and patient glossary, with thanks to Health Technology Assessment International.

For terms used in social care, the Care and Support Jargon Buster from Think Local Act Personal is a useful guide to the most commonly used social care words and phrases, and what they mean.

  • Generic name

    The general non-proprietary name of a drug or device.
  • Gold standard

    A method, procedure or measurement that is widely accepted as being the best available to test for or treat a disease.

    GRADE, or grading of recommendations assessment, development and evaluation, is a  systematic and explicit approach to grading the quality of evidence and the strength of recommendations.

  • Grading (of evidence)

    A means of indicating the quality of evidence.
  • Grey literature

    Literature that has not been formally published in sources such as books or journal articles.
  • Guidance

    See NICE guidance
  • Guidance executive

    A committee made up of NICE executive directors, guidance centre directors, the communications director and implementation programme director. They consider and sign off guidance for publication, on behalf of NICE's Board.

  • Guideline

    See NICE guidance

  • Guideline committee

    The advisory group that considers the evidence and develops the recommendations, taking into account the views of stakeholders. NICE has standing committees (which work on multiple guidelines) and topic-specific committees (which are put together for a single guideline topic). Members include practitioners and professionals (both specialists and generalists, and/or academics), care providers and commissioners, people using health and care services and/or their family members or carers, or people from communities affected by the guideline.

  • Guideline recommendation

    Specific advice in NICE guidelines on the care and services that are suitable for most people with a specific condition or need, or for particular groups or people in particular circumstances (for example, when being discharged from hospital). Recommendations may also cover ways to promote good health or prevent ill health, or how organisations and partnerships can improve the quality of care and services.