Terminology Guide


Authzed Terminology is currently a work-in-progress and is open to public feedback. If anything is confusing or you find something inconsistent, we'd love to hear from you.

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Authzed Terminology#


A grouping of permissions systems under one payer account and administrator team.

Permissions System#

The self-contained combination of a Schema and Relationships.


The list of possible Object Type definitions and their implied/computed Relationships.


Type A class of objects that can exist in Authzed that all contain the same Relations, e.g. user or document.

Object ID#

The unique identifier (e.g. uuid, database row ID, JWT sub claim) which is used to refer to a single instance of an Object Type.

Object Reference#

The combination of Object Type and object ID which refers to a unique entity that exists outside of Authzed, e.g. "The user Aleksander" or the "The engineering team".


An Object Reference when used as the subject of a Relationship, with an optional relation.


One possible way, defined in the Schema, that one object type can relate to another, e.g. Teams can have members, and members are of object type user.


The specific way in which an Object Reference and Subject Reference relate to one another, e.g. Brenna (Subject) is a member (Relation) of the engineering team (Object Reference).


One possible access type that can be requested and computed by Authzed, e.g. repository#write.

API Client#

A handle that can be used to grant access to one or more Permissions Systems with various levels of access.

API Token#

A secret access token that is used to authenticate a request on behalf of an API Client.


An opaque value which when given back to Authzed, carries extra information about the entity in question to allow for faster correct permissions decisions.

Equivalance to Zanzibar Terminology#

For those who are familiar with the Zanzibar paper, the following table explains how Authzed terms map to Zanzibar terms:

Zanzibar TermAuthzed Term
NamespaceObject Type
UsersetSubject Reference
UserSubject Reference
TuplesetRelationship Set
Tupleset FilterRelationship Filter