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I am looking for a word or very short/concise phrase that would mean the furthest in the future given a collection of dates.

I am currently using Most Distant, but it feels very esoteric, and previously it was using Most Recent which I think is just plain misleading.

Some quick background, this is for use within an application where a group of objects have a date attached to them and they also need a property to denote the one that is farthest in the future so I'm looking to come up with a good descriptive name for that property.

6 Answers 6

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In the (most) remote future?

"remote" - far away in time : happening a long time ago or far into the future. Merriam-Webster

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  • Good answer, though this specific case is not necessarily far in the future.
    – JustinM
    Commented Dec 4, 2014 at 17:02
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Last:
Sequent se·quent ˈsēkwənt/ adjective

following in a sequence or as a logical conclusion.

First:
Foremost fore·most ˈfôrˌmōst/ adjective

most prominent in rank, importance, or position

-Google


Something less esoteric might be furthest/closest; first/last; begin/end; leading date/end date; furthest pending/immediately pending. Perhaps, last sequent would leave little in doubt.

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The furthest in the future would be the last to occur, so I would say, simply, "last" or one of its synonyms (since "last" can also be taken to mean "most recent" as "last before now").

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  • The problem is that if the dates occur in an unsorted list, last could refer to the last item in the list which may not be the furthest out in time. But latest would seem to work.
    – Jim
    Commented Feb 26, 2020 at 14:56
  • Ah, I see. I have actually also settled on latest in such cases but don't love it because it sounds like it could be referring to the time of day regardless of the date.
    – xr280xr
    Commented Feb 26, 2020 at 21:52
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After a quick brain storming session with some colleagues we've decided on

Final : happening or coming at the end.

Also considered were

Terminal: of or relating to an end, extremity, boundary, or terminus

and

Hindmost: farthest to the rear

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Given your use case (a label for an application), I would recommend you consider the coining of a new word or phrase that accurately communicates the meaning of the property, over settling for an existing commonly-used term that is less clear or has misleading connotations.

In this case, the concept you're thinking about is "the most in the future", so a concise term or phrase would be "future-most". A google search of "most suffix" turns up mutliple dictionary entries demonstrating that this use of "most" is standard and appropriate to what you're trying to convey.

As someone who works with databases, I've created a field/column in the past with the ID "FutureMostScheduledDate" (dropping the hyphen as a non-allowed character) for what is I think an identical purpose.

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    Talk of "futuremost" is not the clearest possible coinage, but it does seem plausible to talk of the "least recent" for the most distant past, and therefore to talk of the "least soon" or "least imminent" for the most distant future.
    – Steve
    Commented Apr 14, 2021 at 4:49
  • "Least soon" or "least imminent" seem correct, but I'm not sure that they're more clear. "Least" has a negative aspect to it in this context, and in my experience any negation tends to impede understanding. We're not interested in the item that is soon or imminent, we're interested in the object that the most lacks these qualities. "Most distant" is better on that front, but then has the downside that it is not clear (absent other context) that you're talking about distance in time. Commented Apr 14, 2021 at 5:01
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Following on from my comment on @RichardAbey-Nesbit's answer, I propose:

least imminent

Allow me to state my reasoning. The obvious concise answer to this question if it referred to a date furthest in the past would be least recent.

We are accustomed to ask "how recent?", and to talk of something being "very recent" (something happening emphatically not long ago), "less recent" (something happening a comparatively longer time ago), and "not recent" (something happening in the distant past, or expressing doubt that it happened at all).

And it is apparent that the future-oriented counterpart word is imminent, and can be used in exactly the same combinations like "very imminent" (about to happen emphatically soon), "less imminent" (something that will happen comparatively further in the future), and "not imminent" (something that will happen in the distant future, or expressing doubt that it will occur at all).

So given a set of dates, the date furthest in the future is the least imminent.

The phrase does not seem idiomatic, so it may give people pause for thought when first encountered, but it does not involve any new coinage, and there is no possible ambiguity in meaning (for example, I can't see any train of thought that would lead a person to think "least imminent" meant the soonest rather than latest date in the future, or that it referred to any point in the past).

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