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I am looking for a hypernym for the set of different "mental states" or "sedation levels", but I don't know which one (if any) would apply here. I have values like the following in mind:

  • is dead
  • is sleeping
  • is awake but inactively, unresponsively laying around
  • can talk but not move
  • is fully operational
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closed as unclear what you're asking by tchrist, Carlo_R., Marcus_33, MετάEd, simchona Jun 27 '13 at 7:53

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

1) What the heck does the title have to do with your question? Unixoid? Eh? 2) That "What could be 'X'" at the end is a total non-sequitur, as "X" does not appear anywhere else in the question. 3) What are you trying to ask? – Marthaª Jun 26 '13 at 14:27
Not that hard. A unix system can be dead, idle, running. A person can be dead, twiddling his thumbs, active. Too bad I can't vote down a comment ;) – mplungjan Jun 26 '13 at 14:31
@mplungjan It might be "Not that hard", but I doubt the majority of people here know about running unix systems. Too bad I can't vote down a comment ;) – TrevorD Jun 26 '13 at 15:56
-1 for expecting readers to know what “Operating system” is to “runlevel” means! – TrevorD Jun 26 '13 at 15:59
With the examples it is possible to extrapolate what is meant. So just because you do not understand the question does not mean you have to vote it down, just pass on it and move on – mplungjan Jun 26 '13 at 16:26

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Do you mean something like a "level of consciousness"? dead, comatose, unconscious, swooning, awake (but unresponsive (waking coma?)), awake (but inactive, like locked-in syndrome), awake and active

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Wikipedia uses both brain state and state of consciousness. – Matt E. Эллен Jun 26 '13 at 14:40
ah well, I think the state of consciousness comes close to what I had in mind. – moooeeeep Jun 26 '13 at 14:50
So why is my "state" not getting any upvotes? – mplungjan Jun 26 '13 at 15:07

I would suggest state covers most of them

The particular condition that someone or something is in at a specific time: "the state of the company's finances".

Paul is in a state of awakeness, sleep, coma, lucidity ...

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Let me give two answers. The first is for the set of states of a normal human being. The second is for the set of states of one who has undergone injury.


I rather enjoyed the book The Head Trip: Adventures on the Wheel of Consciousness by Jeff Warren.

The Wheel of Consciousness describes twelve unique states of mind available to us over a 24-hour day. (from the website)

Wheel of consciousness is how the author has described the set of mental states. While he does not list "dead" or "comatose" in the set, he has broken "sleep" into several distinct states. Note that Warren describes the set of states of normal consciousness.


The OP may want the set of states of abnormality instead (indicating brain trauma, for example). This Traumatic Brain Injury page describes it as Levels of Consciousness.

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