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I am confused regarding the differences between these 3 words. Can you clarify them for me?

By searching I learned that

A "product" is a manufactured (and often branded) object or commodity.

An "item" is one of a collection of different things, such as things that are in a stock (say in a shop), or on a list, or something similar. Items can be products.

"Material" is the stuff that something is made of.

Which word should I use to refer to an item (e.g. small screws used for implants) that has a brand? I want to use it in a system flowchart if this might help you.

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    Call it by the brand, if it is a trademarked name for that particular type of screw. Otherwise, just call it a "screw". Because that's what it is. – Brian Hitchcock Feb 5 '15 at 9:08
  • I can't just call it 'screw' because I'm pertaining to something general like all items of implants. – Cary Bondoc Feb 5 '15 at 10:34
  • I think that you should call a product, since it was made with a manufacturing or crafting process and have a brand. – Guilherme Feb 5 '15 at 10:53
  • You might even want to call it a "part". In many areas of engineering "parts" are made up into "assemblies". These assemblies may be "products" themselves or may be parts of other assemblies. Your suppliers' products are then your parts. – Chris H Feb 8 '15 at 12:26
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Each of your definitions are fine. As you apply them to your particular circumstances,

material - the stuff the screws are made of, for example, titanium. Material usually refers to uncountable things. Even if the material is formed into countable units for sale (e.g., titanium bars), in itself it is usually a bulk item.

item - a countable thing, such as a single titanium screw. Item can also refer to a unit of an uncountable bulk material. Three packages of polishing compound might be called three items. But units that are not separately packaged (handled by amount) generally would not usually be referred to as units. Three pounds of titanium would not usually be called three items.

products - refers to anything that is produced. This can include countable and uncountable things. Titanium screws are products. Refined titanium itself is a product (it is processed to get to that state). But materials in their original state, unprocessed, are not products. Water in a stream is not a product, but filtered, bottled water may be considered a product.

Your implant screws are products and items, but not materials.

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    The first two definitions of the OED tend to conform to the idea of "mother" at the root of "matter" and "material," contradicting the last phrase in your answer, @bib. Though the OP may no want to avail himself of the fact, anything used to produce another item can be called "material." – ScotM Feb 6 '15 at 11:19

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