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I have following situation: There is a software system for managing to-do lists for a team. If a team member sees that a coworker has too much on his list, she can decide to transfer the feature to her own list in order to help him. But if I just say "The software allows users to transfer todos between lists", it sounds like they are able to push their own tasks to other's lists. I need a word for "transfer", which makes clear that the new task owner has initiated the transfer, so it sounds nice. A long explanation won't do, as it is bad for marketing, it should be a single verb. Something like "take over", but "take over" doesn't feel right to me - or is it OK?

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Like "adopt" or "take ownership" ? – Alain Pannetier Φ Mar 15 '11 at 13:28
I liked "adopt" best, because it has an altruistic ring to it. Will you pleas make it a full answer? – rumtscho Mar 15 '11 at 16:45
here you are; I've now upgraded my comment to a full-fledged answer ;-) – Alain Pannetier Φ Mar 15 '11 at 17:24
up vote 3 down vote accepted

In the context that you describe, I believe you could possibly use "adopt".

It conveys two desirable meanings:

  • Adoptions are one way transfers left at the initiative of would-be adopters.
  • Adopters actively take responsibility for their adopted to-do list item.
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You might consider "capture" or "assume" or "acquire" to mean "take over" something.

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I like the "assume" option. Something like "assume repsonsibility" or "assume control." – Roald van Doorn Mar 15 '11 at 13:29
Or "assume ownership" of something. – Robusto Mar 15 '11 at 13:52
While assume has exactly the meaning I was looking for, its additional meanings are not as positive (like "seize", "usurp"). I'd use it in a generic text without a second thought, but it is not my first choice for marketing material. Still, the suggestions were very good. – rumtscho Mar 15 '11 at 16:48

I like "assume." You might also consider "undertake" or "appropriate."

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Thank you, the suggestions fit well to what I needed. – rumtscho Mar 15 '11 at 16:49

How about

The software allows users to move todos to their own list"

No connotations, represents what you said exactly (the pragmatics of who does what to whom, I think), all you have to do now is worry about singular 'they'.

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