Glossary of Git Terminology: A Beginner’s Guide

Before you can become a master of anything, you must first understand the basics. This applies to every topic in the world, including Git. While there’s nothing better than learning on the job, learning Git terminology can help you when you start using this tool.

This article provides a comprehensive glossary of Git terminology to help you on your journey to become proficient in Git. Consider this your cheat sheet for Git terminology to help you understand the basic terms for working with Git.

What is Git?

Git is an open source distributed version control system that is free to use. It can handle small to large projects, including tracking changes to any set of files. The primary function of Git is to coordinate the work between programmers who work together for source code during software development.

Linus Torvalds created Git in 2005. Now it is the most widely used centralized version control system worldwide. Git has been an essential tool for resource projects that prioritize data integrity, speed, and the ability to support distributed nonlinear workflows.

Who Uses Git Terminology?

Computer programmers, software engineers, and software developers alike use Git terminology in their day-to-day work. Other technical professionals, such as data architects, perform some of their tasks using the Git tool, so they are also familiar with Git terms.

List of Git Terms: Things Every Computer Programmer Should Know

  1. Bare Repository
  2. Branch
  3. cache
  4. Checking out
  5. To connect
  6. Capture object
  7. Freestanding HEAD
  8. To retrieve
  9. Git repository
  10. git reset
  11. HEAD
  12. Hook
  13. Index
  14. Master
  15. Pull Request
  16. Git Push
  17. External repository
  18. Shallow storage area
  19. Subject branch
  20. upstream branch

Glossary of Git Terminology: 5 Common Git Terms

Many developers and computer programmers use Git because it is a valuable tool that provides them with the benefits of version control. Let’s look at some common Git terms, their definitions, and why computer programmers should know them.


A branch is another repository version of the main working project. Most current version control systems include it as a standard feature. There can be multiple branches in a Git project, such as an origin branch or target branch. Depending on the type of Git branch, you can rename the branch, display it, delete it, or perform other tasks on a branch.

Why a computer programmer should have knowledge of industries

A computer programmer should be aware of a Git branch because it stems from the original source code, allowing more room to work flexibly. Programmers can create a new branch to record changes, such as adding a new feature or fixing a bug. A Git branch also effectively points to the snapshots of your changes.

Checking out

The checkout function allows you to switch between different versions of files, commits and branches. You can also run the Git checkout command to save branch changes to the project history. It also aligns changes in the Git branch with the working directory.

Why a computer programmer should know about checkout

As a computer programmer, you need to checkout as it helps you update project history and workbook efficiently. You can use it to match the version of the default branch in the working directory and notify Git to keep track of any new revisions. You can also use it to recover files.


All repositories have a primary branch or default branch called master. When you create a Git repository, master is the most active and default development branch. The master branch must contain all committed and accepted changes. Working directly from the master branch is possible while creating new branches.

Why A Computer Programmer Should Know About Master

A computer programmer needs to know about the master branch because it’s where all changes eventually coalesce. It is the best reference for a collaborative programming output. You could think of it as the official working version of your project.

Git repository

A repository contains all project-related data. It is a folder that contains all files, folders and other information. Repositories can be shared and copied. Different Git repositories include forked repository, server-side repository, and central repository.

Why a computer programmer should know about Git Repository

A computer programmer should know about a Git repository because it contains all versions of project files and directories. It also keeps track of all derived data and metadata related to the files and folders.

Git Push

The term “push” refers to uploading content from a local repository to a remote repository. The push process updates a remote branch with the commits of the current branch. Be careful when implementing this Git command, as it can overwrite changes.

Why a computer programmer should know about push?

A computer programmer should be aware of Git push because it quickly updates remote repositories with changes made to the local repository. All it takes is a push command, and repositories on the remote server will receive the uploaded changes. Git push allows all other contributors to a project to download and track changes.

Git Terminology Cheatsheet: 5 Advanced Git Terms

Computer programmers who master Git terminology often work with the GitHub platform.

Knowing the most common Git terms will give you a foot in the door in the world of Git. However, knowledge of advanced Git terminology can give you an edge in learning the tool faster. Below are some advanced Git terms, a brief description of the term, and why a computer programmer should know about them.

To connect

A commit is a snapshot of the official project version at a specific point in time that is stored permanently in the Git repository. It records information such as the author’s name and email address and the date and time of the commit. Git often uses the term “commit” in the same way that other revision control systems use “revision” or “version”. It is also an alternative term for ‘commit object’.

Why a Computer Programmer Needs to Know About Commit

Computer programmers should be familiar with commit because the Git version control system relies primarily on commits. Using Git commit prevents total code rework. For example, if you modify codes and the change overwrites your work, you may lose only a single commit or a small portion of your work.


HEAD, also known as Git HEAD, is the current branch you’re looking at. In a repository there are multiple heads, but there is only one HEAD branch. That is the HEAD (capital letter) of the currently active branch. Capitalization matters here because headings (lowercase) refer to branches that you are not currently viewing.

Why a computer programmer should know about HEAD

A computer programmer should know HEAD as it is used in tracking the version history of a branch or commit. There are nuances to note when learning about HEAD. For example, a computer programmer should know that a detached HEAD no longer means looking at a current branch, but a current commit.

Pull Request

Also called a Git pull, the term “pull” refers to the pull and merge of a branch. You send pull requests to the external repository to evaluate the submitted changes and include them in the main project repository. First, repository administrators review the order of changes and merge them upstream if they are acceptable. They then add those changes to the master branch.

Why a computer programmer should be aware of pull requests?

For a computer programmer, pull requests are vital because they ensure that codes are quality checked before being merged with the upstream repository or your original repository. Without pull requests, a codebase can quickly become cluttered and unclear. Each programmer’s different approach to programming will result in a confusing repository with different code standards.

External repository

A remote repository follows the same project from another repository. Versions of your official project hosted on the Internet or a network are examples of external repositories. You can have read-only or read/write access to this, depending on the access granted by the repository authors.

Why a Computer Programmer Needs to Know About a Remote Repository

As a computer programmer, you should know about a remote repository because you can use it to collaborate on any Git project. Learning about a remote repository means knowing how to manage it. You must apply push and pull requests, as you are aligning changes to other repositories.

Shallow storage area

A shallow repository is a repository with an incomplete history. This is because Git may portray that some commits have no parents, even if a commit object shows large records of real history in the upstream. This type of repository can be useful if you are primarily interested in a project’s recent history.

Why a computer programmer should know about shallow repositories

If you are a computer programmer, you should have knowledge of shallow repositories if you want to save the bandwidth or storage costs required to maintain an entire upstream repository. This also helps you save time going through a long version history.

How can I learn Git terminology in 2022?

You can learn Git terminology through Git courses, training, and online resources. You can also sign up for the best Git bootcamps, which not only teach you the basics of Git, but also give you the opportunity to participate in Git projects. Learning through coding boot camps will improve your coding skills and put you on the right path to a great career.


What is Git vs GitHub?

Git is a version control system that allows you to manage and monitor your source code history. GitHub is a service that allows you to manage Git repositories in the cloud. If you have Git-based open source projects, GitHub allows you to better manage them.

How much time does it take to learn Git?

If you’re a beginner, it can take a week or more to learn Git, especially since you need to learn Git terminology, concepts, and practical implementations. However, experienced programmers can master the basics of Git in 20 minutes.

Is Git a programming language?

No, that’s not it. Git is a version control system that allows programmers to track changes to any set of files. It helps to coordinate cooperation between programmers in producing source code during software development.

What programming language is Git made of?

About 50 percent of Git’s code is in C. Other programming languages ​​used in Git include Python, Perl, C++, Java, and TCL.

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