The setting:

Imagine the scenario where I am searching for something and once I find it I identify it, then afterwards when I no longer need it I discard it. If at some point I need to identify it again I perform the search again and will succeed since it's still there.

The problem:

The noun for the process of identifying something would most likely be "identification".

I'm pretty sure the word "discardation" is not an actual word, and "discard" or "discardure" just leaves me wanting for something less overlapping and more commonly used.

The Question:

What would be a nice noun to describe the process of "discarding" something temporarily.

Looking at the thesaurus words like: remove, reject, cancel, reject, relinquish and the like come into play but I feel like those words have a more dramatic impact imposed behind them than I would like to portray. Something similar to dislocate perhaps, with an intention to remove. Disconnect seems like a good option yet I feel like I would have to change identify to connect if I choose to do so.


For computer files, e-mails, and the like, you might archive them, and later retrieve them from archival. Another possibility is to flag for deletion, which is reversible, as opposed to actual deletion.

For physical objects, perhaps a better metaphor is to place in the discard pile (or bin). In gin rummy or canasta, for example, a card in the discard pile is temporarily out of play, but it can be brought back into play.


If you want more of the sense of storing something for later, you might use the term caching. The term is most familiar from computer browsers, which save files for potential reuse in a cache, however it has a prior meaning as a physical storage space.

I think this is a good match for your request, since in the modern meaning there is no particular expectation the cached files will actually be reused.


Since eliminate is a near synonym of discard, you should consider elimination.

Also, you might try:

exclude / exclusion

reject / rejection


What about characterizing the selection as designating and the putting aside as de-designating?

With the same roots, you could use designation and de-designation

Not very common, but de-designate is out there. For example, English-Heritage.org.uk discusses DE-DESIGNATED AND NON-DESIGNATED SITES


While fairly mundane, you could use selected and deselected (unselected seems to go more to an items's initial state rather than its subsequent state).

  • This seems like the appropriate word, however de-designation feels kinda hard to roll off the tongue, perhaps there is another alternative with the same meaning? – Ceiling Gecko Feb 28 '14 at 16:26

If the ability to "re-identify" after having discarded it is necessary, then delete or discard, which tend to suggest a permanence to the deletion, will not suit your purpose. How about archive?


You are not discarding the item if you can find it again, just your local "memory" of it. This probably is not worth a term in your "operation" list.

What you have is the concept of a current item, that can be pointed to one entry or another or to no entry at all depending on circumstances. When you find an entry in a real dictionary and put your finger on it, moving the finger to another word in the book or shutting the book entirely doesn't materially change the finger, or the book. Therefore terms like discarding or deleting don't really apply.

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