I am building a web site for a company similar to a temp agency. In the site, we need a control which workers can click to indicate "I'm not interested in working for you in the foreseeable future, please don't contact me about jobs". When this option is selected, the worker's account will not be deleted -- once they have worked, we need to keep their data for a period of time to satisfy legal requirements. It will make their account effectively "dormant".

I'm looking for a good verb or verb phrase. "Make account dormant" is a bit wordy and I'd like something easier to understand for non-native English speakers or people with a small vocabulary. The wording chosen needs to clearly indicate what the control does, but at the same time, it needs to be tactful. The phrase should not imply anything negative about the company or about the user him/herself.

  • Any reason the account's can't appear as if they are fully deleted from the POV of the worker? You can then just make clear that data will be stored (but not used) for a short time for legal reasons.
    – Fractional
    Jan 21, 2014 at 13:05

4 Answers 4


If a worker makes their account dormant, does it prevent them from performing usual options around the site? Do you keep their information on file for a certain amount of time ala Twitter?

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"Deactivate" is used by a number of services to indicate inability to perform certain functions. Facebook uses it on their privacy settings.

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I would prefer the word "deactivate", but you could also use "disable". I would explain to them what's happening though instead of relying on one single word to do all your talking.

Your account is now disabled and will be permanently deleted within X days. You can re-enable this account within X days by logging back in.

  • Good questions! Right now, we don't prevent them from taking actions on the site (and in fact, if they apply to work a job, we automatically "reactivate" the account). We do delete accounts which have been inactive for a long time (past the time which we are required to retain records) and inform the person by e-mail that this has happened. Good suggestion about explaining clearly what is happening -- I will do that.
    – Alex D
    Jan 21, 2014 at 15:44

"De-activate account" seems reasonable enough. I have seen it around quite often, so I assume it's common; other users might also be familiar with it.

In addition, if the user actually de-activates, make sure to show a notification of the sort:

"You account has been de-activated. For legal reasons, your account will be deleted after X months".

At the phrase "for legal reasons" it would be nice to have a link that points to the bill/regulation for this topic.


I'm assuming you need to make it apparent that the account can be re-activated if necessary.

Pause account fits the bill as it indicates the option to resume the account and keeps it under user control.

Suspend account has negative connotations, while disable account or deactivate account might imply potential inability to access the account again.

  • What if you don't want to pause it, but delete it?
    – ekapros
    Jan 21, 2014 at 13:09
  • Indeed - that's a different matter. Some clarification from @AlexD ? Jan 21, 2014 at 13:11
  • If they want to delete their data, that's fine IF they have not actually worked any jobs yet. If they have, there are requirements from the UK tax/immigration authorities that we cannot delete their data. So the answer would be: "sorry, too bad for you".
    – Alex D
    Jan 21, 2014 at 15:38
  • @AlexD - interesting to know that the tentacles spread that far - and that the data is not under your control as such, despite basically being a middle party, providing a service. Jan 21, 2014 at 15:49

The word you are looking for is Hiatus. It literally means, a pause or gap in a sequence, series, or process. You can also try benched its used in sports means withdraw (a sports player) from play; substitute also in agency environments to indicate that a consultant or contractor or agent is in idle state.

EDIT - Hibernate is also a simple option here.

some images i found that you could use to visually cue.

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  • "something easier to understand for non-native English speakers or people with a small vocabulary"? Jan 21, 2014 at 14:37
  • I am someone with a small vocabulary. English is not my native language either. Hence I suggested it. Now the interesting question is - why not localize that word?
    – Rayraegah
    Jan 21, 2014 at 14:46

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