In mathematics, a map is often used as a synonym for a function, but may also refer to some generalizations. Originally, this was an abbreviation of mapping, which often refers to the action of applying a function to the elements of its domain. This terminology is not completely fixed, as these terms are generally not formally defined, and can be considered to be jargon. These terms may have originated as a generalization of the process of making a geographical map, which consists of mapping the Earth surface to a sheet of paper.
Maps may either be functions or morphisms, though the terms share some overlap. The term map may be used to distinguish some special types of functions, such as homomorphisms. For example, a linear map is a homomorphism of vector spaces, while the term linear function may have this meaning as well as another one. In category theory, a map may refer to a morphism, which is a generalization of the idea of a function. In some occasions, the term transformation can also be used interchangeably. There are also a few less common uses in logic and graph theory.