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I'm looking for something like side cause, side influence, dark factor. Googled for those but didn't find relevant hits.

Definition: An influence on something that is not explicit, not taken into account, not declared in the specification, maybe unintentional.

And what would be a better word for converse in the title? I know it isn't the right word but still better than opposite.

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Your definition sounds like "side effect" to me. Can you clarify how what you are looking for is different from side effect? –  KitFox May 25 '11 at 12:21
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@Kit, the same way cause is different from effect. –  Unreason May 25 '11 at 12:48
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As an alternative to converse in the title, how about counterpart? (Brainstorming for comparable terms: opposite, antonym, converse, inverse, counterpart, complementcounterpart seems the most apt to me here.) –  PLL May 25 '11 at 13:04
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@Unreason Urf, of course. Upstream. @PLL I think counterpart is quite apt here. –  KitFox May 25 '11 at 13:15
    
I like counterpart, too - the trick is that two component terms can have three of them, e.g. for "side effect" we can have "main effect", "side cause" and "main cause"; they all in certain sense mean 'the opposite'. Counterpart somehow suggest to me that it is not a simple opposite (Brainstorming: partial opposite). –  Unreason May 25 '11 at 13:22
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3 Answers 3

If I understand your question correctly, the term is either contributing cause or contributory cause. I think these two terms are exact synonyms.

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+1, very nicely fits OPs definition and is common –  Unreason May 25 '11 at 12:54
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+1, very nice. Contributing factor is another alternative, and even more common (Ngrams comparison). –  PLL May 25 '11 at 13:03
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With the right modifier, "condition" or "prerequisite" might work: "unstated condition" for example.

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Concomitant :

–adjective

accompanying; concurrent

–noun

  1. a concomitant quality, circumstance, or thing.

From: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/concomitant

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