What's the difference between 'collision' and 'conflict'? In SQL language, should I say 'PK collision' or 'PK conflict'?

  • are you interested in the English definitions, or only the usage w.r.t. SQL and computer science?
    – JoseK
    Commented Feb 25, 2011 at 10:49

2 Answers 2


A collision is usually taken to mean a physical impact: two cars which crash into each other would be a collision.

A conflict is normally between two or more things which disagree in some way, although its meaning can be extended across both tangible and intangible notions. For instance, you can have a conflict of opinions, where someone disagrees with the other, but you can also have a physical conflict (a fight, or a war).

Conflict, used in its physical sense, could be synonymous with collision.

In your case, you should say a Primary Key (PK) Conflict, as — and I'm assuming it's a duplicate here — the primary keys disagree with each other because they are the same.

They don't physically bump into each other.

  • Actually I might add that collision can be somewhat metaphorical as well, in that a collision of ideas would, at least to my ears, imply that the ideas expressed were in greater opposition and that each side might argue their side more vehemently than in a mere conflict.
    – Andy F
    Commented Feb 25, 2011 at 11:00

For the First Question - Conflict

And for the second question you should call it as Primary Key Conflict.

  • I disagree, with the second - PK/FK are not only universally understood, but arguably they are expected - I can only assume he is addressing a technical audience.
    – CJM
    Commented Feb 25, 2011 at 12:37

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