What is a more positive word for "deadline" that has also comparable length as "deadline" (~8 characters) so it's easy to type (hence more likely to catch on)?

I'm a fan of positive reinforcement if I can be, and I think using the word "deadline" negatively reinforces the "due date" (though "due date" doesn't inspire any sense of hurry).

Personal Choice: "finish line" as in "When do we have to reach the finish line?". It sounds like a place that if I work real hard and fast get to it, there will be rewards there (and maybe snacks).

If that remains a top choice, I'll write that up as the answer, but I'd like to see other ideas.

  • Deadline is a particular point in time (Monday at 4:00pm, say). The way you've used finish line in your example, it appears to refer to the goal itself rather than the target date. – Spehro Pefhany May 22 '14 at 21:22
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    I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by. - Douglas Adams – Elliott Frisch May 22 '14 at 22:23
  • Why is deadline negative? Because of the word, dead? But then we wouldn't have: You're dead right, dead on time, knock 'em dead and drop-dead gorgeous etc. – Mari-Lou A May 23 '14 at 7:29
  • @Mari-LouA: We also wouldn't have dead as a doornail, dead-stick landing, dead as disco, deadheading, etc.. – Robusto May 23 '14 at 20:11
  • i think "deadline" is negative because i think it's often implied/interpreted as: you'll be dead if you don't cross that finish line by this said time – Scott Pelak May 24 '14 at 15:53

Target or goal would be my suggestion.

"Our target is june 15th, there will be many snacks awarded when we hit it!"

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Goal is my personal choice, but maybe anything more specific to your finished product. For example: Publication or Production for software research.

Weaker terms: checkpoint, milestone.

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  • I would personally avoid reliance on sports terms, but there are probably some others there. – statueofmike May 22 '14 at 21:17
  • +1 for making it more specific. – Guy Schalnat May 16 '16 at 15:17
  • @guy 'goal' isnt exclusively sports – marcellothearcane Aug 29 '19 at 17:12

Alternatives to finish line might be end point or, for a bit of glamor, finale.

Full Definition of FINALE

: the close or termination of something: as

a: the last section of an instrumental musical composition

b: the closing part, scene, or number in a public performance

c: the last and often climactic event or item in a sequence


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A simpler but effective term is "Due date".

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    Due date is also mentioned in the question body but the OP retained it lacked urgency, and maybe it does, a little. – Mari-Lou A Aug 29 '19 at 19:46


a final, intensive effort to finish a project, esp. an architectural design project, before a deadline.

The word charrette may refer to any collaborative session in which a group of designers drafts a solution to a design problem. While the structure of a charrette varies, depending on the design problem and the individuals in the group, charrettes often take place in multiple sessions in which the group divides into sub-groups. Each sub-group then presents its work to the full group as material for future dialogue. Such charrettes serve as a way of quickly generating a design solution while integrating the aptitudes and interests of a diverse group of people

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  • Ok, I doubt anyone I'm writing to will understand that one, and it seems specific to design, but I'm going to use it anyway (along with other words). We might as well teach better words while we communicate. – Guy Schalnat May 16 '16 at 15:19

Time-limit may be a neutral alternative.

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