This comes from a software world. There is a hidden feature in our product that is no longer needed but may be needed someday. Typically, if we remove a feature we would "deprecate" or "obsolete" the feature. However, we don't want to remove the feature, we simply want to stop testing it. Over time it will rot or degrade and need to be polished if we ever want to support the feature again.

Can anyone think of a better word for what we are doing to this feature or what state we are putting the feature in?

  • I've seen the term "end-of-life" (EOL) or "end-of-sale" used for products/features which are no longer supported. This is very common for Cisco products.
    – Liesmith
    Jul 16, 2014 at 19:22

3 Answers 3


Consider the term orphan (or orphaned, if an adjective would better suit). According to Merriam-Webster, one of its meanings is

one deprived of some protection or advantage: orphans of the storm

The term has some use along these lines in other fields. The term orphan works is used to describe

An orphan work is a copyright protected work for which rightsholders are positively indeterminate or uncontactable. [Wikipedia]

In effect, these are works are effectively abandoned, even though they are arguably still owned.

The term orphan disease is used in medicine to describe diseases whose drug treatment would be neglected because of the rarity of the condition and the unprofitability to drug companies to develop or manufacture such drugs. There are governmental programs to foster the manufacture of such drugs, called orphan drugs.

It sounds like your features will be orphaned. They will not be cared for or protected by you, but they continue to have an existence. And, like an absent parent, you may decide to go back and nourish them someday.


You are abandoning the feature. I would recommend formally defining the term the first time you use it, but the meaning should be mostly clear regardless.


Unsupported (credit: @KitFox - I'd be happy to delete this answer so you can post the answer since it's really yours).

However, speaking as a software engineer, you had better convey to the user that the feature is unsupported if any of your users know about the feature. Better still, disable the user interface to it entirely.

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