This is a repost of a quickly closed question to make it clear that it has nothing to do with naming conventions.

Naming conventions are, well conventions: following simple patterns and using simple terms referring to design patterns. This question deals with searching for an appropriate word (or words) which describes, or at least mentally associates with some abstract concept.

When programming, I use thesaurus (and dictionaries) more than Google and Stack Overflow combined, especially in the case of frameworks and libraries expected to be used by many other developers and with longer lifetimes.

If you are a programmer, you know how a concise name suggestive of the implemented contract is almost impossible and, in situations where a good name comes to mind, there are several connected classes which could be named the same, due to the deficiency of natural languages.

Differentiating between them is the most frustrating part of the job for me. I do not subscribe to the Java school of 'long descriptive names' as they tend to not work that well in strongly typed functional languages (due to types of higher kinds and type bounds on type parameters) and for abstract concepts, at least not in the API.

As a non-native speaker, despite a fair understanding of English, the mind associations and sums of usage that form the subtle differences between synonyms can elude me. I sometimes ask such questions on linguistic fora (or Facebook), but they almost always are far too abstract for non-programmers to fully understand and attract interest. On the other hand, some questions are quite simple, but require some programming knowledge (design patterns, algorithms and data structures, databases, etc.).

An example of one would be:

I need a word describing a tag marking where a Thing came from which binds with a specific preposition, so X <preposition> Y strongly suggests Y as that term.

I used Origin and it was good: it has the proper association and is not a common word, but this caused conflict with ...".


What do you call a generalization of a from clause of an SQL select which includes a where clause and, possibly, a group by clause, but is not yet a complete select?

They obviously don't belong on Stack Overflow, but the way I see them, they do not invite open discussions and are less opinionated than a lot of questions that do get asked and answered on these sites (setting the topic aside for a moment). A good answer can be argued for successfully, just as with choices done by book translators which encounter the same kind of problems, although even if for made-up words and fantastic entities, they rarely venture far into the abstract.


There aren’t any Stack Exchange sites that would accept these questions in their current form.

While English Language and Usage (and also ELL, for learners) both accept some single-word-requests, your questions are too technical and would be closed. Recently I even saw a question that was mildly domain specific get closed on ELU.

In order for a question like that to not get closed on ELU, it would have to:

  • Be looking for a word to use in a specific sentence, and include said sentence in the post. We don’t directly help people name variables.
  • Not be too vague. Or too specific, where the answer would have to be “why would there be anything less than a long sentence that could describe this?”
  • Not be too technical. This is a bit of a judgement call and I don’t think that everyone agrees on this (I would have left the mildly domain specific question open, though there is a limit to what I think is on topic). Personally, despite being a programmer who uses SQL, I can’t understand either of your questions and would have voted to close them.
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