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I'm looking for a single word to describe the place or person an item is assigned to. The context is basic asset management, where you have a list of assets (such as computers, software licenses or consumables) that can be assigned to people or locations. For example, a laptop can be assigned to its user, a location (storage cupboard with spare laptops) or a company (because it's been sent there for repairs).

None of the words I've come up with quite fit all of the above situations:

  • Assignee, Holder or Bearer don't work very well for locations
  • Location, Whereabouts or Station don't work very well for people

Update: I'm looking for this word not only to label things on screen and in a database, but also to make the concept of assigning things to people/locations as obvious as possible. The right word would make this concept immediately obvious.

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So you're looking for either 1) a hypernym of person or place, or 2) you're looking to label a line in a data entry form or a db field so that a user will know what it is. in the first case, the only real hypernym (that I can think of) is 'Proper Noun' except that sounds irrelevant. In the second, just use 'Name or Location' or NameOrLocation. For a db, such a name is evidence that your datamodel might need to subclass into two kinds of object Name, and Location. –  Mitch Apr 11 '12 at 15:16
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You're conflating two notions: who is responsible for the item, and where is it. You could meaningfully have both of those; you seem to be saying that person trumps location. This is inherently messy, and I'd just go with "assignee" (which works for people and companies; let the supply closets fend for themselves). –  Monica Cellio Apr 11 '12 at 15:19
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As annoying as this might be, requests for better labels for a table are off topic/way too localized. Of course a good question might have that as initial motivation as long as the ostensible question, the one you expect answers for, are about the English language (more in the direction of the 'hypernym' style. –  Mitch Apr 11 '12 at 15:48
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I would say whereabouts actually works exceptionally well. Why do you think it doesn't work for people? If you ask me about the whereabouts of your laptop, I could say, "I left it at school", "it's in the cupboard", or "I sent it back to Dell", but the answer could just as well be, "I gave it to Jack", or "Jill has it", or "John found it at school and will be bringing it in a minute", or "here it is, I'm holding it right now". That would be neither ungrammatical nor unusual. In fact, it would be rather unusual if I replied, "the whereabouts are unknown, ask me who has it instead". –  RegDwigнt Apr 11 '12 at 17:03
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3 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I would probably go with allocation or assignment.

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Have you considered assignation?

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There are unfortunate implications. thefreedictionary.com/assignation –  chaos Apr 11 '12 at 17:00
    
I'm not responsible for implications, but thanks for editing your answer to basically include mine. –  cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Apr 11 '12 at 17:23
    
Luckily, it doesn't include yours. –  chaos Apr 11 '12 at 18:50
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For brevity, you could put -ee for the assignee/location. As noted in etymonline, the two suffixes -ee and -or "came to be used as a pair to denote the initiator and the recipient of an action". But if -ee seems too cryptic, instead try target, which has senses including "reference point to shoot at", "person who is the aim of an attack", "location of the target that is to be hit", and "goal intended to be attained". Technically, either of sink or slot might work, or less impersonally, consider Who/At or Who/Where.

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Interesting, but -ee is indeed a bit cryptic and probably not widely known. Who/Where would be an acceptable fallback in case there's no single word, although I'm pondering if allocation might work. –  Ingmar Hupp Apr 11 '12 at 16:33
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