I'm looking for a better way to describe a keyboard and mouse that go together, as part of a set. They might just match aesthetically, or they could share the same USB dongle. Right now I just call it a "keyboard/mouse combo," but that is unwieldy. I checked on a few manufacturers' website, and they just called it a "keyboard + mouse combo" or "k + m combo". I don't like either of those terms because of the symbols (slash and plus sign).

Examples of similar types of words: a collection of forks, spoons, and knives is collectively called "silverware" or "tableware."

A set of special papers, envelopes, or even pens is collectively called "stationery".

I feel like "hardware" isn't specific enough. "Peripheral" is a bit better, but still not specific enough as it could include joysticks, ten-keys, printers, and even monitors.

Something related to the hand might work, since these are the devices that interact with your hand. "Manual input devices" or "hand input devices" are all right except I would still like something shorter, and I don't think people would understand these phrases. Something a lay person could understand is better than jargon.

Words or phrases in actual use are preferred.

  • 3
    The industry refers to them as HID (Human Input Devices). If you want specifically a mouse and keyboard (and not other input devices like a joystick), you should be specific. Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 18:19
  • @Ian: As you say, HID is a bit too generic. On eBay the best search term is just the abbreviation kbm Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 18:29
  • When network engineers place a terminal in a "rack slot", they use a slim unit (similar to a laptop, but with no CPU) that slides out like a drawer. This is called a KVM (keyboard, video and mouse). Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 2:26
  • 1
    You could call it a KoMbo.
    – jxh
    Commented May 11, 2015 at 20:03
  • 1
    If you think stationery and silverware are good examples then 'Peripheral' should be good enough as well. It is just as generic as the other two. Only if they had a word for it like the combo of pitcher and catcher in baseball = battery
    – Huangism
    Commented May 11, 2015 at 20:30

4 Answers 4


primary input devices

The primary input devices are a keyboard, which is used both for text entry and to issue commands, and a mouse or touchpad, which is used to select items and then open, move, delete, or perform other manipulations on them.
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  • So that would be a PID. And the gooey ooze that always seems to collect under it would be "piddle".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented May 11, 2015 at 23:27
  • Haha... no "piddle" accumulates with proper maintenance snopes.com/humor/business/mouse.asp
    – amdn
    Commented May 11, 2015 at 23:30

Input Devices

I recommended dropping the prefix primary, manual, or human, and simply go with input devices. In keeping with your examples of stationery and silverware there is rarely a need to distinguish between primary and secondary types, it's all just stationery or silverware. Similarly input devices are a class of hardware designed to facilitate input in contrast to display devices and more generic output devices


You can classify them as Human Interface Device (HID)

A myriad of HID devices exist. The most common are the keyboards, mouse, computer speakers, webcams and headsets.

Also, a peripheral device provides input/output (I/O) functions for a computer and serves as an auxiliary computer device without computing-intensive functionality. Can simply call it an auxiliary device combo.


  • Thanks, but I mentioned "peripheral" in my original post. "Human Interface Device" and "auxiliary device combo" are slightly more specific, but they are also longer and more jargonated. I was hoping for something that feels more like natural english, rather than an acronym. If I could make up a word, it would be something like "teclary" from the Spanish "teclar" ("to click") and "teclado" ("clicker" or "keyboard").
    – browly
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 17:02

Wireless Desktop

This seems to be the term preferred by Microsoft, though it hasn't caught on much with other manufacturers, probably because "desktop" is more frequently used to refer to the computer itself.

The term makes sense, though, since:

  • a wireless keyboard and mouse literally make the top of your desk free from wires.
  • a desktop computer is unlikely to be wireless, so it's unlikely someone will use the term "wireless desktop" to refer to a desktop computer with built-in battery power and a wireless display.
  • keyboard/mouse combos are almost always wireless, since the main advantage to buying these two items together is the shared receiver that only uses one USB port, so you're unlikely to use the term "desktop" or "wired desktop" to refer to a wired keyboard/mouse combo.

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