I'm looking for the best word to use describing the entity that will have a duplicate or duplicates associated with, the one that will remain, say, during a merging process, while the duplicate of it will be removed (be archived / hidden... etc).

Here are the possibilities:

  1. Master - I saw / heard this one being used the most, someone told me it's sexist / politically incorrect as it is referring to a male
  2. Main - Not sure if it's the best for my use-case, but might be another good choice in my eyes
  3. Original - Although this one assumes the creator of the duplicate was aware of the existence of the "Original"...?
  4. Parent - I don't think of this as a parent child relationship, it's more like twins, then again someone told me twins "are born at the same time"

EDIT: I'm not looking for an academic's answer, I'm looking for a best practice in an app, eg. what would users of an app react the best to / feel being the most intuitive to use / see the easiest to understand / think of it as the most accurate description of the function / feature they're are looking for when they're associating / merging duplicates.

  • This is probably a better question Stack English Language and Usage. Unless this is somehow specific to UX?
    – Tim Grant
    Oct 3, 2017 at 19:52
  • @TimGrant I think it is because I'm trying to use it in an app that people will interact with... unless I'm misunderstanding the purpose of UX...
    – benomatis
    Oct 3, 2017 at 19:53
  • Can you please elaborate more on what you mean or put in meaningful examples? I don't really understand you question
    – piegames
    Oct 3, 2017 at 19:57
  • @piegames I have updated the title and the first sentence of the description; hope it makes it clearer.
    – benomatis
    Oct 3, 2017 at 20:01
  • 2
    I'd go with master, it's the most common and known way, so no need to reinvent the wheel. As for sexist... I don't know, never thought about it, but now that I think it I still don't see it
    – Devin
    Oct 3, 2017 at 23:58

2 Answers 2


I would use master - if you look at one of the meanings of the word, it seems to cover your situation.

Also called matrix. an original document, drawing, manuscript, etc., from which copies are made. Source

This word is also often used in computer science. As for the sexist part - initially I didn't want to comment on this but I decided to - in the system you're referring to an object and not a person, so how can it be sexist? Also, the meaning above (the one you need) is not a meaning of the word mistress and it would be extremely confusing to use it in this context.


Probably not quite what you need, but something that might apply nevertheless would be baseline (if the master/original has the role of an authoritative source of truth instead of being accidentally the first issue created).

  • I see where you’re coming from, but I think that would be less intuitive for users in my specific use-case, or I’d even say in a “baseline-duplicate” relationship... I’m not a native English speaker (though on it for the last 25+ years), but baseline sounds to me like the ultimate entity that everyone should adhere to, one from which you can derive, and do different, but should preferably do “better”, even... I think it is more referring to quality of content than a relationship between entities, but I mighy be wrong with that...
    – benomatis
    Oct 4, 2017 at 14:56

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