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I'm interested in a word (noun) to use to refer to an object or concept which has permanence.

For example, substituting ###, I would say

"Many of the objects we interact with in real life are ###s, if you leave a ### for a while it will still exist when you come back. But some things, like an ice cube, a bad smell, a virtual particle in physics or a local variable in programming, are not ###s."

The antonym, a word for an item which displays impermanence, would be interesting as well.

The motivation is that I want to name an abstraction in my computer program. It is a type of container to put data in, instances of this container will hold data that (has) more permanence than a typical data (element) will. Typically, you name an abstraction after the thing it represents. If you have an abstraction that holds data about one person, you name the abstraction itself "Person". While trying to name this abstraction, I got curious to know if there was a generic word.

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Any particular reason to name these as a class instead of just using an adjective? “Many of the objects we interact with in real life are permanent. If you leave them for a while, they will still exist when you come back. But some things, like an ice cube, are ephemeral.” – Bradd Szonye May 3 '13 at 23:52
Constant n, adj : "Many of the objects we interact with in real life are constant, if you leave (such) a constant for a while it will still exist (to) come back (into view). But some things, like an ice cube, a bad smell, a virtual particle in physics or a local variable in programming, are not constant." (The first and last instants use constant adjectivally.) Ant.: transient – Kris May 4 '13 at 5:20
An adjective works better here. Also, a thesaurus would help. persistent, permanent, long-lasting, concrete (but then ice is concrete). Antonyms, short-lived, ephemeral, intangible. – Mitch May 4 '13 at 16:18
@derekv In that case how about naming it after a piece of furniture? (I like 'fixture' below). 'Cabinet' is already widely used, but how about chest/shelf/drawer/cupboard etc, all places where we store things of some permanence. Or relate it to food storage - jam jar, preserves, bottle, keg, cellar etc. – Mynamite May 4 '13 at 18:36
In software, the usual term is persistent object, although that often implies serialization to disk. I don't know of a single-word noun equivalent. – Bradd Szonye May 5 '13 at 17:48
up vote 3 down vote accepted

One term which might suit your needs is fixture:

3 : a familiar or invariably present element or feature in some particular setting; especially : a person long associated with a place or activity

—source Mirriam-Webster

Though admittedly, it implies something that has merely been established for a long period of time, and is not necessarily permanent.

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You bring up a good point, for my use, I just mean to talk about something which is relatively permanent compared to its contemporaries. – derekv May 4 '13 at 16:35

Such an object (or concept) could be referred to as a static.

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I suppose this would depend on the context of the permanence/impermanence.

A solid and dependable person could be a rock whereas a fly-by-night is an unscrupulous or undependable person, literally one who disappears overnight.

An ephemeral is a short-lived creature like a mayfly - it would be hard to find an antonym for this, given that all things die eventually, unlees you go for mortals/immortals.

With food you could refer to staples, durables or imperishables as opposed to perishables

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+1 for ephemeral ... too bad there is not antonym, its tempting to make one up. – derekv May 4 '13 at 16:37
Some dictionaries list ephemeral as both adjective and noun, but I also found a different noun form ephemeron. The plural is ephermera and can also be used to mean "a matter of passing interest." Great words! Now, if only there where a direct antonym. – derekv May 12 '13 at 17:22
@derekv That's a good find. Not words used everyday by most people! – Mynamite May 12 '13 at 21:48

I like "corporeal" for this concept of something tangible (another good word!), particularly since the antonym describes the fleetingness of ice cubes, etc.

From the FreeDictionary.com:

Possessing a physical nature; having an objective, tangible existence;

being capable of perception by touch and sight.

From Google Dictionary:



Adjective - Of or relating to a person's body, esp. as opposed to their spirit. Having a body. Synonyms physical - material - bodily - corporal - fleshly

Antonyms from Thesaurus.com:

cerebral, immaterial, intangible, mental, spiritual

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Maybe the serial downvoter would care to leave a comment that might actually be productive and helpful? – Kristina Lopez May 4 '13 at 12:51
I agree, would the downvoter(s) like to explain their reasons? – Mynamite May 4 '13 at 12:59
I didn't downvote, but maybe it is because ice is corporeal but doesn't last. – Mitch May 4 '13 at 16:15

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