With its first appearance in the English language in 1527, the word originates from the Latin term mappemounde or mappa mundi, meaning map of the world word. Its first element, mappa, translates as "flag" or "signal cloth", a contraction of Mishnaic menaphah, "a fluttering banner" or "streaming cloth" in Talmudic Hebrew, and its second element mundi, meaning "of the world", from mundus, "universe". Post-classical Latin mappa, from the late 4th century, was a term used by land surveyors for "cloth" but transitioned into "map" as early maps were sometimes drawn on cloth.
The word means a chart, plan of diagram, showing either tabulated arrangement of data, spatial distribution of something and or the relative positions of its components. The drawing can be a representation of the earth's surface or a part of it made on a flat surface, showing the distribution of physical or geographical features, some of which may include socio-economic, political, agricultural, meteorological, information, with each point in the representation corresponding to an actual geographical position according to a fixed scale or projection; a similar representation of the positions of stars in the sky, the surface of a planet, or the like. In genetics, the word illustrates the relative order and distance apart of the genes of a chromosome; and in math, a correspondence in which each element of a given set has associations within it.
Example: The symbolism f: (X′, A′) ⊂ (X, A) is read: f is the inclusion map of (X′, A′) into (X, A).
The term is also included in phrases, an example of such is "off the map", meaning out of existence; obsolete or of no account; in or into a remote or insignificant position. Another phrase, "on the map" can translate to in or into existence; in an important or prominent position, in vogue; of some account or importance, and "all over the map" read as widely distributed, in many different places; varying widely and erratically.
"map, n.1". OED Online. September 2012. Oxford University Press. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/113853?result=3&rskey=qzUpKO& (accessed November 20, 2012).