When naming a class in an object-oriented programming language I came a across a case where there were a few proposed names for describing a component that is responsible for abstracting registration related actions.

Candidate names:

  • ApplicationRegistrator
  • ApplicationRegistrar
  • ApplicationRegistry

Which of these phrases more properly describes the scenario?

  • This question would probably better suit programmers.stackexchange.com.
    – apaderno
    May 3, 2011 at 14:56
  • 4
    @kiamlaluno: No not at all, it has nothing to do with programming itself. They would've slashed it.
    – check123
    May 3, 2011 at 15:00
  • 2
    @kiamlaluno No, bikeshedding class names is not welcome on Programmers.SE.
    – user2512
    May 3, 2011 at 15:01
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    That's fine, but it is not on-topic here too, IMO. It would be like asking why CakePHP is called so.
    – apaderno
    May 3, 2011 at 15:10

4 Answers 4


In ordinary English (outside the IT world), a "registrar" is a person who performs some sort of registration, and a "registry" is an office in which registration happens, or a store in which registrations are recorded. (In the University of Cambridge, there is a "registrary", who is a person; but I don't believe that is used anywhere else).

I have never encountered "registrator" (but the OED lists it)

So I would favour "registrar". "Registry" would be a possible alternative, but I would use that for where the registrations are held, rather than for the agent which performs them.


I would not use registrator, as its non-programming use is rare and ambiguous, and there are other common words which are clearer.

Try this: a couple wish to have their marriage registered. They go as registrants to the registry where the registrar enters their names and the date in the register of marriages.


If your class is actually storing the data, it's a Registry.

If your class is responsible for putting the data into a different storage, it's a Registrator.

If it's doing both, it's a Registrar. They record data and keep the records too.

  • 1
    Interesting, are the applications of these words comming from a particular dictionary? I like the clean subdivisions of use but I'm wondering whether this is something that the majority of English speakers would pick up on.
    – jpierson
    May 4, 2011 at 22:46
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    I used Google to "define: <whatever>" - seems consistent across multiple dictionaries. Also matches the connotations I feel; registrars keep records of marriages, but a registrator seems more action-oriented than state-oriented. Maybe most English speakers wouldn't notice if you mix up Registrar / Registrator, so my StackOverflow or Programmers.SE answer would be to ask the team.
    – Lunivore
    May 5, 2011 at 0:27
  • Registrator -> Person or device which records data
  • Registry -> Generally refers to the book/document contaning the records themselves. (eg.: Windows registry)
  • Registrar -> One who administers the registry.

From your description of the component, it seems, the component is likely to manage the registry (i.e. conduct operations upon them) therefore registrar, to me, seems appropriate.

Another example of such usage of registrar: Registrar of companies, the office responsible for maintaining the register of companies registered.

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