Edit: Give a better explanation of my problem.

I am writing a computer program. I like to make analogies within my code to help me express the intent when I read it months down the line and it all looks like gibberish (code easily becomes gibberish if you aren't careful).

I am interested to find another word for someone/something who/that identifies something. The best I can come up with is "an identifier".

There is currently a theme of a police investigation throughout my code. There is a Detective and a Suspect; the Detective interrogates the Suspect (a web page).

I want a word to identify a bit of my application that, given a response (from a web server), after some investigation, identifies the implications of or meaning expressed by that response.

So far I have named the code the "identifier" because it identifies the meaning of the response.

The word must express the intent of identification, because that is the purpose of the code. Although witness is the right word in the context of the analogy it is not the word that I am looking for because the issue for me is expressing the purpose of the code.

Bonus points if you identify a better analogy. (When I reach 15.)

  • I might depend of what they were identifying. Do you have something in mind?
    – Sam
    Apr 8, 2011 at 14:10
  • 3
    If it's livestock, the birds of the heavens and every beast of the field, then I would go with Adam.
    – RegDwigнt
    Apr 8, 2011 at 14:15
  • @Sam, What I had in mind was a response from a http server. I like to make analogies, to help me remember the intent of my code. There is a theme of crimescene investigation throughout my program, I have a Detective and a Suspect. I want a name for the person who picks someone out of a lineup.
    – bluekeys
    Apr 8, 2011 at 14:32
  • 1
    @dsjbirch That person would be the victim or the complainant or witness
    – Ed Guiness
    Apr 8, 2011 at 14:33
  • 2
    @EdGuiness: or witness
    – Karl
    Apr 8, 2011 at 14:35

8 Answers 8


Classifier - Identifying means deciding which of a collection of predetermined classes the particular thing belongs to.


Not exactly what you asked, but a taxonomist is concerned with the classification of things, especially biological.

An appraiser might give something a value, and might identify that thing in the process.

Or you could make up your own word; how about determinatrix?

Edit: In the context you give in comments, a witness would be the person choosing from a line-up.

  • 1
    Or determinator!
    – Ed Guiness
    Apr 8, 2011 at 14:24
  • +1 for determinator, but I think for my purposes (though I'm not sure how clear it was from the question) classifier fits well. No plus one as yet though, my points are too low.
    – bluekeys
    Apr 8, 2011 at 18:53

In the sense of "the expert identified the plant" then there isn't really a word.

There may be some obscure legal terms for eg. the witness who proves someones identity on a contract


The person who identifies someone in a Police lineup is a "witness". However that word doesn't reflect the act of identification only that they are a valid person to be called upon to carry out the identification. I've never heard any word other than "witness" used in this context.


Some more colourful alternatives to 'witness' from the genre of crime fiction:

  • Snitch
  • Informant
  • Agent
  • Mole
  • Butler

I would use the term "sleuth"! It's much more along the lines of "spy", "detective" and "police" work and seems to fit the program you are coding!


As I have mentioned in the comments above, going by the specific example set by the asker, I think 'witness' is the best fit. Many of the other answers given would also be quite usable, I think but going by the scene set -

I have a Detective and a Suspect. I want a name for the person who picks someone out of a lineup.

I would have to say that witness or eye-witness identifier, as amended by @cindi, is most appropriate.

  • Let me update my question. Seeing your quote makes me think that I should have written a more comprehensive explanation of the reason for the question.
    – bluekeys
    Apr 8, 2011 at 19:47

It's elementary, it is a deducer! It looks at the evidence and gathers the facts. That is it logically deduces the meaning, step-by-algorithmic-step, based on the given input.

The analogy is actually quite superb Wastson.

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