I was recently answering a question on Super User about RAID. In this context RAID means "redundant array of independent (or inexpensive) disks". I wanted to point out to fellow user that he should make sure that computer is set to boot from the array.

I used syntagma "RAID set" but I'm not sure if it fits. I felt that the best way to say what I wanted would be to use "RAID array" but then we have the array array problem.

I've seen that the automated teller machine machine problem is solved by simply dropping the second machine, but here I also had RAID card so using just RAID wouldn't work and I wanted to avoid just saying array because I think that it's unlikely that any of the settings which would need to be changed would contain RAID in its expanded form.

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    No you don't have an "array array" problem: see my reply to the question about PIN. It doesn't matter what RAID originally stood for, it now has a meaning of its own, and the word "array" is nothing to do with it (I'm sure that many people who use the word would not be able to tell you what it originally stood for without looking it up). Whether it can stand as an independent noun or not is a different question, resolvable only by considering comprehensibility and current usage.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Mar 3, 2011 at 16:41
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    There's only an "array array" problem if you believe that the way a word originated tells us something about how to use it correctly today. That is called the "etymological fallacy", and it is in fact a fallacy. Commented Mar 10, 2012 at 9:45
  • @rhetorician Please do provide some references for that. I'm well aware of the other ATM and its use in telecommunications networks, but I'm pretty much sure that what you're saying is not the case. For example, the automated teller machine predates Asynchronous Transfer Mode by some 20 years if not more, according to for example Google Ngram Viewer.
    – AndrejaKo
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 7:45
  • From sunsite.uakom.sk/sunworldonline/swol-04-1997/…: "When ATM emerged from the work on B-ISDN in the mid-80s, it was developed as a standard by the CCITT (Consultative Committee of the International Telegraph and Telephone) for proposal to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). From dictionary.reference.com/browse/automated+teller+machine?s=t: "Also called automated teller, automatic-teller machine, cash machine, money machine. Origin: 1980–85." Seems like a tie to me! Don Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 10:29
  • @rhetorician I really can't find any reference to automated teller machines in that asynchronous transfer mode article. Just because something has same acronym, it doesn't mean it's the same thing. Furthermore, your justification doesn't mention the pre-1980s use of ATM as automated teller machine.
    – AndrejaKo
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 11:55

3 Answers 3


Storage management jargon to the rescue: I believe you want RAID volume.

  • That's exactly what I was looking for!
    – AndrejaKo
    Commented Mar 3, 2011 at 16:17

Just fight the urge, and use RAID as if it were the expanded form! E.g., “You will still be able to boot from the RAID.”

  • But that use is incorrect. It's just as silly and wrong as saying "Bring the scuba." Commented Mar 10, 2012 at 9:47
  • There's no “correct” or “incorrect”. It is used, period.
    – F'x
    Commented Mar 10, 2012 at 17:19
  • "You would still be able to boot from the RAID" is used? By whom? Commented Mar 10, 2012 at 21:47
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    @JonHanna: See my comment to the question. It is simply false that the way a word originated tells us something about how it should be used today. Commented Jan 19, 2013 at 15:39
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    @DavidSchwartz in actual usage scuba is almost always used as a noun adjunct (scuba gear, scuba diving, scuba tank...) and almost never as a standalone noun. With RAID the situation is different, that acronym has become its own stand alone noun. Basically, I'm saying your analogy is misleading.
    – Dave
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 16:05

Sorry to resurrect an ancient question, but I stumbled on this while looking for examples of Redundant Acronym Syndrome (RAS, or RAS Syndrome). While @chaos's answer is correct, it is lacking in justification, and I find it less than satisfying.

As we know, RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent / Inexpensive Disks. An array of disks is a thing, so RAID is a noun, and you are free to use it like one. Array, meaning that once context establishes that we're talking about RAID, and you need a noun to refer to it, you can use "RAID" and "array" interchangeably, choosing whichever feels better in the moment.

I prefer to avoid "RAID array," but I find it less egregious than things like "PIN Number" because array isn't the last word in the acronym. If it were instead called Redundant Independent Disk Array, then I would object more strenuously to "RIDA array."

Like many nouns, you can also use RAID as an adjective to qualify related nouns (dog is clearly a noun, but when used in dog walker, it's an adjective):

  • RAID volume: the logical software entity recognized by your operating system, representing (a portion of) the storage space offered by the array
  • RAID controller: the circuits and/or software responsible for translating reads and writes for a RAID volume into corresponding reads and writes for the individual disks, as well as handling parity, repair, etc.
  • RAID enclosure: a box, if present, enclosing all of the disks in the array, usually including a RAID controller and presenting itself to the connected computer as a single disk.
  • RAID setup: the entire system (hardware components, connections, drivers, configuration settings, volume layout)

In the case of your actual question, @chaos's answer is correct: you configure the OS to boot from a RAID volume. Note that a single RAID array may comprise multiple volumes, so volume is not an appropriate way to refer to the set of physical disks. For that, I think array is the right choice, with RAID and disk array as the preferred backups. I do not have a strong objection to RAID array if that feels better in situ.

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