Mini Glossary of Mesh Generation

a vertex in the mesh
a polygonal or polyhedral piece in the mesh; most often a triangle, quadrilateral, tetrahedron, or hexahedron (brick)
given a set of points, connect them into a mesh of triangles
mesh generation
given a (typically 2-D or 3-D) domain, generate nodes and triangulate them to create a mesh
not the same in all directions
anisotropic mesh generation
uses stretched elements; desired edge length is a function of orientation; e.g. doesn't strive for equilateral triangles
graded mesh generation
uses elements that vary in size as a function of position
structured mesh
all elements and nodes have the same topology (i.e. same number of neighbors)
unstructured mesh
elements and nodes can have different topology; e.g. an arbitrary triangular subdivision
adaptive meshing
iteratively regenerate mesh and solve FEM problem, hopefully improving the mesh and the accuracy of the solution on each iteration

Paul Heckbert