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What would be a word for a moment in time defined with beginning and end?

This is for a database system where people have predefined time spans that are defined with a beginning and an end point in time (like 2014-04-11 22:15 UTC until 2014-05-22 18:22 UTC). I don't find a decent term for that. The best I could come up so far is "time frame".

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You did say "time spans" in your post... why not "Time Span"? – Josh Jan 28 '14 at 21:28
Because TimeSpan is already used (also in the programming environment) indicating an AMOUNT of time (like 3 hours) without defined start and end point (like by saying date, 13:00 - date 13:00 = timespan 2 hours. I need something that defines start and end. THe context is the analysis of statistical data (financial trade data) for which I want to have predetermined xxxxxx in a drop down for easy selection. TimeSPAN will then be used in this context to say somthing like "15 trading days included" ;) – TomTom Jan 28 '14 at 21:41
Thanks a lot. I go with Time Slice mostly because I alread use it in exactly this fasion in another part of the software (and did not even think of it). You people are great - that was a terrific amount of help. I wish I could distribute more points around ;) THANKS ;) – TomTom Jan 28 '14 at 21:46
@TomTom... You could make us cookies :) – Josh Jan 28 '14 at 21:47
As a Java programmer who frequently uses Joda, I'd co-opt that library's terminology: stackoverflow.com/a/2653655/139010 – Matt Ball Jan 29 '14 at 5:35
up vote 6 down vote accepted

I designed many databases containing this sort of information, but I don't think I ever had a persistent entity containing both Start and End Time (it was invariably StartTime + Span), so I never really needed a word for OP's pair of values or the period it represented.

It's usually associated with relatively short timespans (a word which OP might prefer), but the computer industry does actually have a commonly used term...

time slice/timeslice
A time interval during which a time-sharing system is processing one particular computer program. Also known as time quantum.

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Interesting. We already use the term slice in a similar related context do incidate exactly this. It is purely technical (data analysis for our computer cluster is split into slices so multiple computers can work on the problem in parallel). The funny thing really is that a time slice in this context has - defined beginning (a sunday) and end (next saturday). Man, I feel like an idiot because I even asked - given the already in use term for something similar (just slices are fixed in that part of the software to one week) it is quite obvious to reuse this ;) THANKS. – TomTom Jan 28 '14 at 21:45
@TomTom: In my industry (UK public transport) we often had things like drivers' duties that (pre-computerisation) had to be "breadboarded" into a complete schedule. Sections of the schedule that needed to be filled/covered were normally called slots, but the things that went into those slots were just called what they really were - duties, duty portions, journeys, or whatever. – FumbleFingers Jan 28 '14 at 21:56
The problem here is that this is meant to be a list of predertermined time slices for analysis. You have a ton of data, and you use those to selecte between predetermined start and end dates. Nothing else is implied here. THat said, this type of analysis is "slicing a cube" (data warehousing) and we already use slice for splitting work to multiple computers to work in parallel, so it actually is a PERFECT term to use in this context, because the end users of the software get consistency. – TomTom Jan 28 '14 at 22:35
If your users are all technical, timeslice might be okay, but it's certainly not a word I've ever heard before. Timeslot is something I understand, although it's usually used for daily scheduling (timespans in minutes or hours), not for timespans of days, weeks or months. – AmeliaBR Jan 28 '14 at 23:23

The word "Interval" is the recommended term per ISO 8601, although in colloquial usage it has a connotation of being periodic.

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Interval has the added backing of ISO 8601, the most widely used standard for date and time interchange formats. In ISO 8601, an interval is a span of time with a fixed start and end point, contrasted with a duration which has a fixed length, but no defined start or end point. (An interval may however be expressed in three different ways: start/end, start/duration, or duration/end. These three ways of expressing an interval are equivalent, and it's always possible to convert between them to allow them to be stored in a canonical format.) – tobyink Jan 29 '14 at 9:50
@tobyink thanks, I'll include that in my answer. – AJMansfield Jan 29 '14 at 10:42

You can simply use the word period.

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As "Time Period" (We may have other periods in the analysis). Is that not close to something "periodical" (like weekly)? – TomTom Jan 28 '14 at 21:43
Periodical means repeats periodically -- ie, the period between repetitions is constant. Different, but related, word. – keshlam Jan 28 '14 at 22:54
Period gets my vote. It need not imply periodicity. "Here is the analysis of transactions over the period 1/4 through 1/28" is clear and avoids slangly indirection that slice and window create (they might imply other kinds of filtering, sectioning, or partitioning). Although the fully-qualified "time slice" works, the redundant inclusion of "time" to qualify "slice" makes it less precise. Period connotes time on its own, as does duration, but the latter feels awkward here. Interval might work, but seems a bit indistinct. – andy holaday Jan 29 '14 at 2:37

Window, as in "window of time."

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You could consider duration

the length of time that something lasts or continues

Note that this is perhaps more frequently used to indicate the length of time rather than the start and stop point.

You also could use allocation. Allocate is defined as

  1. to apportion for a specific purpose or to particular persons or things : distribute

  2. to set apart or earmark : designate

Allocation could be used alone or as part of the term time allocation.

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"time window", in Germany nowadays frequently used, I think borrowed from English.

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"Time Range" could also work, and shows that you need two values.

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Many of these answers are great, but I'll throw in my two cents as well:

How about "Time Allotment"?


I posted this as a comment, but I might as well include it in my answer.

I think "Time Span" fits the bill fine, but the OP used the phrase "time spans" in his post, making me think Time Span is not what the OP is looking for...

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Added my comment to yours. THe problem is that TimeSpan is already taken in the programming language and in the user context as indicating an amount of time, regardless of specific start and end point. I need now something for the later, for example "results of the xxxx 1st of january 2013 to 31st of December 2013" which has "Timespan 1 year". – TomTom Jan 28 '14 at 21:42

protected by RegDwigнt Jan 28 '14 at 21:44

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