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There are two meanings of the word 'option', that I have encountered:

  1. A variable that takes one of the multiple possible values. (e.g. "You should set the resolution option to 'default'")
  2. An alternative, one of the possible values of a variable. (e.g "In the resolution menu choose the biggest available option")

Are both of these meanings acceptable? Is the latter one more common than the former?

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    I think you're misinterpreting the meaning in your example #1. For most people, it's the same meaning in both - only programmers would normally think of extrapolating the sense of option to mean the program variable used to store the user's choice out of several available options. Note that the extremes of screen resolution options are lowest and highest, not smallest and biggest. Aug 22, 2014 at 15:29
  • I guess you're right, then I can assume #2 is the acceptable meaning. Aug 22, 2014 at 15:32
  • If you look at say the AHD definition, you'll see that there are quite a few other senses. In fact, both the usages above are slight variations on 'Something chosen or available as a choice'. Aug 22, 2014 at 15:36
  • I would prefer "parameter" to "option" in the first sentence, though there's nothing wrong with "option" ("command line options")
    – Dan Bron
    Aug 22, 2014 at 15:54
  • @DanBron Curiously enough, these two senses of option are very similar to the dichotomy between parameter (the slot into which the choice fits) and argument (the possible choices themselves).
    – Wlerin
    Sep 28, 2014 at 22:32

1 Answer 1

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As said in the comments, essentially both these definitions are the same -

A thing that is or may be chosen, or is available as a choice.

The comments, shortened slightly

only programmers would normally think of splitting it into the sense of option to mean the variable used to store the user's choice out of several available options.
-- FumbleFingers Aug 22

both the usages above are slight variations on "Something chosen or available as a choice". – Edwin Ashworth Aug 22

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