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What's the difference in meaning between “register” and “registry”? Can both be used interchangeably when talking about an official (public) list of items, records?

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Have you perchance looked the two words up in a dictionary? –  coleopterist Mar 1 '13 at 16:56
    
@coleopterist: Yes, the dictionary does not state when to use which one. –  liori Mar 1 '13 at 18:18
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Please add what you found in the dictionary to your question and link to any definitions if you are using an online resource. –  coleopterist Mar 1 '13 at 18:22
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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The online oxford dict says:

  1. Register noun official list or record, for example of births, marriages, and deaths, of shipping, or of historic places. a book or record of attendance, for example of students in a class or school or guests in a hotel.

  2. Registry: noun (plural registries) a place or office where registers or records are kept.

But yeah, it also says that a registry too can mean a list. And I think 'Registry' is used more in the former context than the later. Even while talking in context of computers we say things like 'Windows Registry'. For me, the word register brings along a sense of being finite but registry does not. like when I think of a register of records, I usually get a quantified picture of the records list comes to my mind, like a page, or a notebook. but 'registry' brings along a picture of non quantifiable !! or its just weird with me. Anyone have other thoughts on this?

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No, they can't:

Register - A recording of items, names, or actions;
Registry - A place where you Register
Registrar - One who registers
Registration - the act of registering.

I like to see my words in such easy pattern based on effective usage. I just added the extra to define how I make the difference.

In computer world, Microsoft Windows has a Registry. That's a place where software are registered. I should assume that the actual data listing is the register and the installing program is the registrar. The act should be registration. That's just my wild guess in computer world.

The real English speakers know better

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-1 for lack of evidence. Personal preference is irrelevant; actual usage and definition should be cited instead. –  jimbotherisenclown Mar 5 '13 at 6:34
    
Well I never knew that was a law here. Use freedictionary.com online or google the words. I don't know what you mean by actual usage when I actually use these words. As a programmer (check on stackoverflow.com) Shouldn't I know what a Windows Registry is? Don't I use it? Maybe I have to post actual usage of Registration. You have a +10 from me for being polite, @jimbotherisenclown –  Steward Godwin Jornsen Mar 5 '13 at 6:39
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