What is a single word for best known function? I'm trying to say, for example, that lumber has been the best known function of timber?


As a single word: purpose.

An items best known function is its purpose.

The best purpose for harvesting timber is to make lumber.

In context, you might also use the term derivative.

The most useful derivative of timber is lumber.

And, for completeness, consider end-product.

Lumber is the typically desired end-product of processing timber.

  • 1
    Good, but that would create an ambiguity in my database. Also, it's not specific enough, maybe. Mar 20 '14 at 4:38
  • @Wolfpack'08 I accept that criticism.
    – David M
    Mar 20 '14 at 4:39
  • @Wolfpack'08 I think I have a better fit for you in my revision.
    – David M
    Mar 20 '14 at 4:42
  • That is a really good one. It may be better. I wish I could accept two answers. Mar 20 '14 at 4:45
  • 1
    @wolfpack'08 A byproduct is a side effect of the process. An end-product is the expected outcome of the process. And, the derivatives are all of the products of the process. A byproduct of timber processing would be something like methyl alcohol. Not lumber.
    – David M
    Mar 20 '14 at 4:57

There's a good few options here:

Lumber has been the main use for timber

Lumber has been the primary use of timber

Lumber has been the most common use of timber

Lumber has been the primary use of timber

Timber has primarily been used as lumber

Any of these are probably more than adequate for your example.

  • I was thinking of 'culmination' or something, you know? Mar 20 '14 at 4:27
  • Ideally a single word, though some of these are good Mar 20 '14 at 4:37

In that sentence I think the term is byproduct.

  • 1
    Isn't byproduct anything that results from uses other than the main function? In the case of timber, if we agree that lumber is the main use, firewood could be a byproduct?
    – oerkelens
    Mar 19 '14 at 15:19
  • @oerkelens It is a tree, and then processed as timber. Lumber and firewood would both be byproducts. Mar 19 '14 at 15:20
  • But a byproduct is not the main thing created in a process, it is a secondary product. To apply that word to the main product seems strange.
    – oerkelens
    Mar 19 '14 at 15:25
  • @oerkelens - I hear you one this. It is philosophical. I am using the term loosely. I think timber is the product of a tree and lumber is a byproduct of breaking down the tree. Mar 19 '14 at 15:29
  • Ok, that is about whether or not the OP's actual statement is correct or not. I agree that it is debatable, but since we are not on lumberjack.stackexchange.com, I was focusing on the language-part :P
    – oerkelens
    Mar 19 '14 at 15:31

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