Are there other names which mean essentially the same thing. If there is a univeral process that goes into the making of a chowder that distinguishes a chowder, what is it? Are there some sorts of food produce conducive to "chowdering" and others that are not? Is there a list of chowder types somewhere? I ask because I sense that all of those elements would go into a good definition--not just a dictionary definition--of what makes for good chowders.
According to Food Network and chowhound.com, chowders are thick, usually cream- or milk-based soups with chunks of vegetables and/or fish. A cream soup is generally pureed, a thinner consistency and smooth, with no chunks of food.
Food Network also notes the regional aspects, in that the Northeast seafood-based chowders are more common, while further inland meat-based soups are more prevalent. http://www.foodnetwork.com/how-to/chowder-and-soup/index.html
PreparedPantry.com describes chowder attributes: