I'm writing a script which involves the comparison of two objects. I keep finding myself referring to this sort of test as an "identicality" check. From my preliminary research, "identicality" does not seem to qualify as a word. Also, the more I think about it, the less sense it makes to me. A single object should not be able to posses the quality of "identicality", since it requires that a second object exists for comparison, yet makes no reference to said object.

Does it make any sense to refer to the "identicality" of two objects? Should it instead be "identicalness", if that makes any more sense?

I'm not sure if "identicality", or even "identicalness" is etymologically sound either, or if it is just my mind kludging things together.

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    As long as it does it in a transparent and easy-to-understand manner that doesn’t go straight against established idiom, there’s nothing whatsoever wrong with your mind kludging things together. Both identicality and identicalness are instantly understandable words, whether dictionaries include them or not (and it’s not like either is common, so you’re not going against any established idiom), and they both sound perfectly logical to me as a quality to describe two objects being compared. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jun 4 '14 at 13:28
  • Also, why not "sameness" ? – P. O. Jun 4 '14 at 14:54
  • "Does it make sense to apply the quality of “Identicality” to one or multiple objects?". No, not formally. What you may want to do is back out a bit, create a set of two objects, and attach the attribute to the set. This doesn't need to be terribly explicit, because, as @JanusBahsJacquet, says, it is a readily understandable idea. But as an attribute, identicalness makes better sense applied to a set containing identical elements, rather than the elements themselves. – Phil Sweet May 9 '17 at 10:07
  • You open with 'I'm writing a script which involves the comparison of two objects.' Is it correct to assume that the script is a computer language like Python or JavaScript? And is it correct to assume that the objects that you are comparing are computer objects in a VM? (And I'm wondering why your three-year-old question is getting a flurry of activity.) – rajah9 May 9 '17 at 14:36

It makes sense to refer to the "identity" of two or more objects.

Of course, outside maths, this sense is usually obscured by the 'distinguishing character or personality of an individual : individuality' [Merriam-Webster] sense.

I had to search quite a way on the internet for:

A human gene that shows identity with the gene encoding the angiotensin receptor is located on chromosome 11 ...

As Peter Shor points out, choosing the lesser of two evils makes sense (if one can sort out which it is). ODO lists

identicality N = identicalness.

Origin Late 19th century.

It makes more sense to use this unambiguous word (it must refer to multiple objects) until it becomes more common than the 6th-most-common sense of 'identity' Webster's lists. And to continue to do so.

  • I hadn't thought of identity as a quality of something with respect to something else. To me, it seems like an "identity test" would determine whether or not two objects are one and the same, like someone being pointed out in a police lineup based on a composite picture. It seems more natural to me to think of "identicality" as a quality which exists between two distinct objects that happen to be copies of each other. I'm not sure if I'm just splitting hairs here, though. – DDP Jun 4 '14 at 13:54
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    RHK Webster's: identity: 6. exact likeness in nature or qualities: an identity of interests. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 4 '14 at 14:24
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    You had to search fairly hard for this, so it's clearly not a common use of the word identity. It's not even clear to me that this use of the word identity is more common than identicality or identicalness, both of which have been used occasionally. So why not coin a new word rather than using an old word that doesn't (usually) mean what you want it to? – Peter Shor May 9 '17 at 12:11
  • I suspect that the OP is using the identity concept in a computer science context. The word identity is consistently used in Object-Oriented languages such as Java (stackoverflow.com/a/1692882/509840) and Python (stackoverflow.com/questions/8748036/…). – rajah9 May 9 '17 at 13:37
  • @rajah9 If a CS-specific usage is required, CS is the correct SE site to be asking the question on. – Edwin Ashworth May 9 '17 at 13:46

Identicalness is a word and I think it's the right word for your situation.

Identity could be used too, but is liable to be confusing due to its more common meaning of "being the same thing" as opposed to "being alike in every way".

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