I'm a software developer and I try to take naming variables, functions, classes etc. rather seriously. I'm looking for a single-word noun that describes the verbal display or representation of data. It will ultimately be written as a TimeSpanTo[Blank]Converter

For example, if I input "23" and output "twenty-three", I've converted from an integer to a(n) [Blank]

More specifically I'll be using this with time data, so a times stamp of "02:30:00" would display as "2 and a half hours"

If what I'm looking for doesn't exist, would lexicon or literal be appropriate? Any other suggestions?

  • You can use the word Pronunciation there. Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 13:21
  • Ones I use (in-house) are called NumberLexer & TimeLexer ; en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lexer_(computer_science)
    – Alex K.
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 13:59
  • I do like "Lexer", however I typically think of a lexer when converting in the opposite direction, though I may be wrong.
    – plast1k
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 14:13
  • When you say 'if I input "23" and output "twenty-three", I've converted from an integer to a __ ', do you mean 'I input the numeral 23 and the output is the word "twenty-three"'? 23 and twenty-three are just ways of referring to the integer, which 'exists' even if no one has ever said or written its name (which is true for almost all integers). Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 14:39

4 Answers 4


I would suggest "Words". It's clear enough and short.

  • +1. Not only is it "clear enough", it is actually exactly right, because that's what he's in point of fact doing.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 13:44
  • +1 And if precision is critical, perhaps TimeNumeralToWordsConverter (but that adds 3 characters).
    – bib
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 13:47
  • Words, hiding in simplicity I suppose - at first I didn't think it "sounded" right but really its what the goal is here so thank you. @bib TimeSpan is a predefined data type that doesnt actually have a format, so I may have been incorrect displaying the input as I did - however - I love "TimeNumeral" and will be using it the future when describing that format
    – plast1k
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 14:08
  • @bib: time and timespan are different things. If it converts a timespan, I would certainly not take that out of the name :)
    – oerkelens
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 14:09
  • "2 and a half hours" is not written purely in words. Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 14:14

In programming terms what you're talking about is called a formatter. TimeSpanFormatter makes sense to me.

  • I like this, though I was ultimately looking for something a bit more descriptive as to the output, as "format" could be anything. Thank you though
    – plast1k
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 14:07
  • This seems more like a name for an interface or base class. Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 14:33
  • Sure, and what he's talking about is a base class. Sounds a lot like the SimpleDateFormat class in Java, actually: docs.oracle.com/javase/8/docs/api/java/text/… Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 14:39

The best word that I could come up with is "spoken-word"; your method/function/class name would then be TimeSpanToSpokenWordConverter.

  • 1
    Isn't "spoken" superfluous? Words are written and spoken; it's sort of implicit. Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 13:39
  • wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=spoken%20word
    – user73036
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 14:04
  • @aetheria I don't see the need for any modification of 'word' in this case, but certainly 'the spoken word' is distinct from 'the written word'. Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 14:21
  • Right and there are even words that are never written or spoken, e.g. for the purposes of meditation. Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 14:41

Many years ago, we called writing numbers as words "Alpha Phrasing" when we used it in the computing context. Not sure if this term is outdated now, but it seems to fit fine for your situation: "If I input "23" and output "twenty-three", I've converted from an integer to a(n) Alpha Phrase.

You should be careful though, because in telephony, Alpha Phrasing means taking a phone number and making words out of it, like 1(800) CALL-NOW.

  • Because of its cross use with telephone numbers I wont be using this, but I'm always happy to learn something new so thank you :)
    – plast1k
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 14:05

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