I'm producing a monthly report that put forward a selection of ten particular cases out of 70 individual entries. I filter for the 5 best and 5 worst cases according to various indicators. The idea is to bring forward whatever is out of ordinary, bad or good.

So far, the report is called "highlights", but in all dictionnaries I've consulted the word has a positive connotation.

Webster: something (such as an event or a detail) that is very interesting, exciting, or important : the best part of something

Collins: the most exciting or memorable part of an event or period of time

Oxford: An outstanding part of an event or period of time

It does not seem right to use it with "five worst sellers" of the month, for example, although it's fine with "five more profitable".

Ideally, I'm looking for a synonym of highlights but that could be also used for negative stuff. A synonym devoid of connotation –if it can be still called a synonym ?

For native speakers, in the following list of synonyms I found (from Collins+Oxford), what would be the word that sound to you the less connotated in a positive or negative manner, what sounds the most neutral ?

emphasize, stress, accent, feature, set off, show up, underline, spotlight, play up, accentuate, flag, foreground, focus attention on, call attention to, give prominence to, bring to the fore,high point, peak, climax, feature, focus,high point, high spot, best part, climax, culmination, peak, pinnacle, height, top, acme, zenith, apex, summit, apogee, apotheosis, crowning moment, high water mark, most memorable part, most outstanding feature; Latin ne plus ultra

Or , would you have another proposition ?

5 Answers 5


Another option would be outliers:

3: a statistical observation that is markedly different in value from the others of the sample

Or extrema (plural of extremum):

a maximum or a minimum of a mathematical function —called also extreme value

  • 1
    Outliers seems to have a slight negative connotation in North American English.
    – P. O.
    Jun 10, 2014 at 14:45
  • Outliers is iffy, but I like extrema.
    – Kevin
    Jan 13, 2015 at 19:40

The term I hear extremely frequently in such reports is "lowlight":

lowlight ‐ something (such as an event or a detail) that is very unpleasant or dull : the worst part of something

It is common to see a "highlights and lowlights" section in status reports or post-mortem analyses.

  • 1
    How does May Highs & Lows sounds to you ? Corporative enough ?
    – P. O.
    Jun 6, 2014 at 15:02
  • @JoBedard: Absolutely.
    – MrHen
    Jun 6, 2014 at 18:54

How about re-thinking it so the ones you wish to call to attention are "of note" or "noteworthy"?

Of the products we surveyed, the five highlights all sold in excess of 1000; of note, equally, are the products manufactured by Contoso, all of which managed to sell fewer than twenty in studies.

  • I'm looking for one or two words for the title of the report that will also be the name of the Excel file. A word that can apply to good and bad at the same time. "Of note" is getting closer.
    – P. O.
    Jun 6, 2014 at 15:06
  • Notable, noteworthy, prominent, relevant, poignant...
    – seagull
    Jun 6, 2014 at 15:44

Consider the extremes

(often plural) either of the two limits or ends of a scale or range of possibilities

If you are open to a phrase, perhaps ends of the spectrum.

  • The name of the report is also the name of the Excel file including the data. I like your proposition but it does not sound "corporaty" enough. A bit too extreme...
    – P. O.
    Jun 6, 2014 at 14:57

This is a really old question but I still want to contribute. I would use "divergencies" if you want something that has lightly negative connotations or "notabilities" when you are trying to refer to something neutral. "Aberration" is also a really interesting one to use. As it is rarely used, it doesn't really have that many common connotations that may be more extreme, but it is also negative.

Hope this helps some lost user desperate enough to look at almost decade-old posts.

  • 1
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    – Community Bot
    Feb 12 at 11:19
  • I would think notabilities is your best suggestion. If you added definitions and links to dictionaries this could make a fine answer. I am upvoting for encouragement :)
    – fev
    Feb 12 at 11:28

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