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I am developing some software where users are assigned tasks. They will see a date and time for when they were assigned to the task, but if they were later removed from the task, there will be a date and time for that also.

01/02/14 - Assigned

03/02/14 - Unassigned

I'm pretty sure unassigned isn't correct. I suppose the task itself could be in a state of being unassigned, but the user wasn't "unassigned" from it.


  1. I don't want to use the word "removed", as I don't think it conveys the correct meaning and also sounds too harsh.

  2. I would like to avoid using a word your average person would never have heard of, as this isn't very user-friendly from a software point of view.

marked as duplicate by David M, Rory Alsop, choster, Brian Hooper, MrHen Mar 13 '14 at 16:00

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  • 1
    I'm not sure I understand the problem... how is unassigned incorrect? If a user is assigned to work on task A and then task A was taken from them, then they were unassigned from task A. They once had an assignment, but they no longer have that assignment, therefore they are unassigned. Similarly, if task B is an open project that needs a user to work on it, then task B is an unassigned project until it gets a user, when it is assigned. I'd suggest (if the user is the one seeing "assigned/unassigned") you tell them what they were assigned to/unassigned from rather than changing the wording. – Ice-9 Mar 12 '14 at 13:10

"revoked", "withdrawn", "retracted", or simply "reassigned"

  • 1
    "revoked" or "withrdawn" don't really seem very clear on their own. I think "unassigned" is a more intuitive approach, otherwise "assignment revoked" is clear. Creating new verbs isn't really something to be frowned upon. For example texted, messaged. If it starts to get used a lot, then it becomes a legitimate word. So just use what's clear and makes sense. Nobody's going to say "I don't know how to use this software, unassign isn't a word" right? – Jesse Pepper Jul 6 '16 at 4:54
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    @JessePepper While I agree that this would still be understandable, the problem with using "unassign" as a verb in this instance, is that "unassigned" already exists as an adjective which describes the current state and has a different meaning than what the OP was after (he wanted a "de-assign" rather than an "un-assign"). – msam Jul 6 '16 at 13:56
  • @msam how do you know that? Is it from communication outside of stack echange? – Jesse Pepper Jul 7 '16 at 0:56
  • 1
    @JessePepper from the question: "...but if they were later removed from the task...". "Task unassigned" means it is not currently assigned to anyone (Noun + adjective, dictionary definitions). To get the required meaning "removed from the task" relative to the "user", "unassigned" would have to be a verb (which would really mean "de-assigned" as in my previous comment - see dictionary definitions of "un-" and "de-" prefixes for clarification). You are of course free to use "unassign" as a verb (I'm not one to frown upon incorrect use of latin prefixes), but it can be a source of confusion. – msam Jul 7 '16 at 7:47

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