I have following situation: There is a software system for managing to-do lists for a team. If a team member sees that a coworker has too much on his list, she can decide to transfer the feature to her own list in order to help him. But if I just say "The software allows users to transfer todos between lists", it sounds like they are able to push their own tasks to other's lists. I need a word for "transfer", which makes clear that the new task owner has initiated the transfer, so it sounds nice. A long explanation won't do, as it is bad for marketing, it should be a single verb. Something like "take over", but "take over" doesn't feel right to me - or is it OK?

  • Like "adopt" or "take ownership" ? – Alain Pannetier Φ Mar 15 '11 at 13:28
  • I liked "adopt" best, because it has an altruistic ring to it. Will you pleas make it a full answer? – rumtscho Mar 15 '11 at 16:45
  • here you are; I've now upgraded my comment to a full-fledged answer ;-) – Alain Pannetier Φ Mar 15 '11 at 17:24

In the context that you describe, I believe you could possibly use "adopt".

It conveys two desirable meanings:

  • Adoptions are one way transfers left at the initiative of would-be adopters.
  • Adopters actively take responsibility for their adopted to-do list item.

You might consider "capture" or "assume" or "acquire" to mean "take over" something.

  • I like the "assume" option. Something like "assume repsonsibility" or "assume control." – R-D Mar 15 '11 at 13:29
  • Or "assume ownership" of something. – Robusto Mar 15 '11 at 13:52
  • While assume has exactly the meaning I was looking for, its additional meanings are not as positive (like "seize", "usurp"). I'd use it in a generic text without a second thought, but it is not my first choice for marketing material. Still, the suggestions were very good. – rumtscho Mar 15 '11 at 16:48

I like "assume." You might also consider "undertake" or "appropriate."


How about

The software allows users to move todos to their own list"

No connotations, represents what you said exactly (the pragmatics of who does what to whom, I think), all you have to do now is worry about singular 'they'.

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