I have a system which has the following structure:

Inbound > Open > Pending > Awaiting reply > Ready > Closed

I'd like to use single-words, so the one that sticks out like a sore thumb is "Awaiting reply".

I obviously can't use "Pending" because that's already in use. And "Awaiting" is too similar to "Pending".

Is there a word for "waiting for a reply"?

  • Why do you need the reply? Does someone need to confirm something? What do they confirm? That it's done? complete? written? – Kate Gregory Jan 17 '14 at 17:56
  • As bizarre as it sounds, I'm being purposely vague to cover a multitude of possibile outcomes. – rybo111 Jan 17 '14 at 18:23

How about "Unanswered"?

I know it's not the perfect answer -- it's not clear whether the items are unanswered by other people or unanswered by you. But then, the same could be said of "awaiting reply" :-)

| improve this answer | |
  • Unanswered is good because it is a clear separation from Pending. Some good answers so far though. – rybo111 Jan 17 '14 at 18:27
  • You could also say: unreplied, it's also shorter :) – Mari-Lou A Jan 17 '14 at 21:43
  • Except you couldn't use unreplied by itself, you would have to say "unreplied to" :-) – Frank H. Jan 17 '14 at 22:31

I think you may have to live with "awaiting reply." Even if you do find a single word that comes close to the same meaning, it is likely to be obscure or not appropriate for the context.

In technical writing, which is how I would classify documenting a process, it is sometimes necessary to sacrifice elegance in favor of making your writing clear and easy to understand quickly with a minimum of mental friction. In this case, your goal is to make your writing "invisible": if the reader "notices" what you've written, that means you've failed. When the reader encounters the labels you've given the process steps, he or she should understand them immediately without a second thought. "Awaiting reply" achieves that goal, whereas a more flowery or clever single-word label may not.

| improve this answer | |

I don't think there is a single word for waiting for a reply. One can expect, anticipate, await, envisage, assume, etc, but they all would need for a reply.

One can be expectant or expecting, but be aware that this word is commonly used for pregnant. One can also be anticipant, anticipative, ready, and hopeful, but I'm unsure these will meet your needs.

Expectant has a noble lineage.

  • There was about an average of two dogs to one man; and these sat in expectant attitudes till a spent bone was flung to them, and then they went for it by brigades and divisions, with a rush... - Mark Twain
  • ...and the crystal waters of the brooks, murmuring over the grey and white pebbles, hastened to pay their tribute to the expectant rivers... - Cervantes (Don Quixote)
  • He saw the yellow road, the lines of expectant people, and the sober houses. Crane (Red Badge of Courage)
  • the white birds were now all flying towards Ahab's boat; and when within a few yards began fluttering over the water there, wheeling round and round, with joyous, expectant cries. (Melville)
| improve this answer | |

Rsvp(répondez, s'il vous plaît)-: used in formal invitations. (It is an abbreviation.) It is French for "respond if you please".

| improve this answer | |
  • Not sure if it is really used in real world but it is used formal invitation "format"(the one I learnt in school) – Argot Jan 17 '14 at 17:40

"Holding" is a possibility. Though, as @phenry explained, the intent of this word could be misunderstood by your readers since it is somewhat ambiguous without further clarification of "holding for a reply."

From Merriam-Webster:


a: to delay temporarily the handling of

"Please hold all my calls."

b : to continue in the same way or to the same degree

"I hope the weather will hold." —often used with up

Here, holding would imply that you are maintaining a state of expectancy or holding off on any further action until a response is received.

| improve this answer | |
  • You could improve your answer with a reference that backs up why you think it's a possibility. – Helmar Aug 30 '17 at 7:54

Here is a word that pertains to the anticipation felt when waiting for a response to a text message : “TEXTPECTATION”

| improve this answer | |
  • Welcome to English Language & Usage! If you made this up, you should state so; also, answers like that might be received badly by the community. – Glorfindel Mar 1 '19 at 7:01

How about "receiving"? It suggests the expectation is still in the air. The act of receiving is not completed, hence: awaiting continues. Furthermore, "receiving" implies the "reply" part rather neatly. What can you "receive" if not a delivery of something (like mail, food, kisses, or just a... reply)?

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.