The terminology of algebraic geometry changed drastically during the twentieth century, with the introduction of the general methods, initiated by David Hilbert and the Italian school of algebraic geometry in the beginning of the century, and later formalized by André Weil, Jean-Pierre Serre and Alexander Grothendieck. Much of the classical terminology, mainly based on case study, was simply abandoned, with the result that books and papers written before this time can be hard to read. This article lists some of this classical terminology, and describes some of the changes in conventions.
Dolgachev (2012) translates many of the classical terms in algebraic geometry into scheme-theoretic terminology. Other books defining some of the classical terminology include Baker (1922a, 1922b, 1923, 1925, 1933a, 1933b), Coolidge (1931), Coxeter (1969), Hudson (1990), Salmon (1879), Semple & Roth (1949).
On the other hand, while most of the material treated in the book exists in classical treatises in algebraic geometry, their somewhat archaic terminology and what is by now completely forgotten background knowledge makes these books useful to but a handful of experts in the classical literature.
(Dolgachev 2012, p.iii–iv)
The change in terminology from around 1948 to 1960 is not the only difficulty in understanding classical algebraic geometry. There was also a lot of background knowledge and assumptions, much of which has now changed. This section lists some of these changes.
...we refer to a certain degree of informality of language, sacrificing precision to brevity, ..., and which has long characterized most geometrical writing. ...[The meaning] depends always on the context and is invariably assumed to be capable of unambiguous interpretation by the reader.
(Semple & Roth 1949, p.iii)
Most particularly we refer to the recurrent use of such adjectives as `general' or `generic', or such phrases as `in general', whose meaning, wherever they are used, depends always on the context and is invariably assumed to be capable of unambiguous interpretation by the reader.
(Semple & Roth 1949, p.iii)