Suppose I am planning an event. I have a list of things like:

  • Get napkins from Bob
  • Meet with rental hall supervisor
  • Buy donuts from Donut-a-thon
  • Bake vegan cookies

From this list I can extrapolate a list of related items and their relation type like:

  • Bob / Person
  • Hall Supervisor / Person
  • donuts / Food
  • vegan cookies / Food
  • rental hall / Place
  • Donut-a-thon / Place

The list is fairly diverse and each of these items is related directly to the event in it's own unique way. They are things linked to another thing. What would you call these? I'm looking for a single word, not a phrase.

"Relatives" and "Associates" are perfect when it comes to describing humans who are related and associated. But what about non-human things which are related or associated?

I'm basically looking for a synonym to "Related Thing". e.g.,

  • The napkins are related to the event therefore they are a _____ of the event
  • The chalk is related to the chalkboard therefore the chalk is a _____ of the chalkboard
  • 1
    How about you wiki "Project Management"? Otherwise you may be trying to re-invent the wheel.
    – David Pugh
    Jun 3, 2015 at 20:08
  • 1
    I'm not trying to invent anything - just looking for a word. But thanks for the suggestion. Jun 3, 2015 at 20:09
  • 1
    On seconds though @DavidPugh, perhaps I am trying to invent something. Jun 3, 2015 at 22:00
  • In practice I always call these Priorities when I'm making a list. And Trajectory if there's a sequence to be followed. What do you call them, @billynoah , until the right term springs to mind?
    – Hugh
    Jun 3, 2015 at 22:48
  • For now, associated items. Or "things related to X". Jun 3, 2015 at 22:53

7 Answers 7


Associated items, persons, or places?

associated adjective: (of a person or thing) connected with something else. "two associated events"

synonyms: related, connected, linked, correlated, corresponding. see, Google

  • Yes they are associated - but the context I'm looking for is: Thing A is a _____ of thing B. Jun 3, 2015 at 21:47
  • You cannot say Donuts are an associated of the event. Nor can you really call them an associate. You could say, they are an associated item to the event, and that's exactly what I'm looking for - but in a single word. Jun 3, 2015 at 21:49
  • Still doesn't work - can you say Bob is a subset of the event? The relationship of more lateral than possessive which is why I ruled out "element" and "component" though those are close to the mark. Jun 3, 2015 at 21:51
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    Associated Items is perfect but I'm looking for a single word that says this. Perhaps there is none... Jun 3, 2015 at 21:52

Each of the items on your planning list is a element of the plan:


1 An essential or characteristic part of something abstract


  • 1
    I had considered this word. Also "component". However, if you read my "chalkboard" comment above, it doesn't quite work. The person writing on the chalkboard is not an "element" of the chalkboard. They are directly related by engagement but neither is a component of the other. Jun 3, 2015 at 21:43
  • Element works for the specific example of an event plan but fails to describe less abstract things which are related to one another laterally. Jun 3, 2015 at 21:45

Accessory (noun):

a thing which can be added to something else in order to make it more useful, versatile or attractive.[Source]: ODO

Chalk is an accessory to the chalkboard.

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    Donut-a-thon is associated with the event. Chalk is associated with a chalkboard. Neither are added to those things, nor do they necessarily make them more attractive. Except in the case of Donut-o-thon since donuts make everything attractive. Jun 4, 2015 at 0:20
  • Is the person writing on the chalkboard an accessory to the chalkboard? I guess you might say so but it's a stretch and not generally appropriate. Jun 4, 2015 at 0:23
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    The more I think about your answer, I see that it has merit. It's not at all what I am looking for but it's a good direction. It's not human specific and I like that, but it has a bit too much of a hierarchical connotation. What I'm looking for should describe any kind of relationship like parent, child, or sibling, whereas "Accessory" is a bit akin to child since usually one thing is dominant over the other. Jun 4, 2015 at 0:28
  • Yes, you are right about the hierarchical relationship, @billynoah. I also considered the nouns, 'complement' and 'feature', ( ie the tableware being a feature of the catering), but decided they were too narrow. Jun 4, 2015 at 1:24

If you want to group items which have properties in common, could you not call these groups "categories". So, in your example, your categories would be "People"; "Food"; "Places". Or have I missed your point?

  • Yes you can call the groups categories. But that wasn't the question. What do you call the category items themselves? What you are calling "group items".. that's what i'm looking to describe. Jun 3, 2015 at 21:09

English generally doesn't group people and things into the same category; nor does it speak of people as if they were part of the same category as things. "Businessman's English" or "corporate-speak" is willing to do this, though; for example, it abbreviates "human resources" to "resources" and uses the word to mean "personnel."

Given this, David Pugh's suggestion is a good one; if there's a word anywhere in English for a category of prerequisites that includes both people and things, it's most likely to be a term of art in project management.

If you don't need a single word and don't mind sounding stuffy, "associated entities" might work.

If you need a single word and don't insist on English, I think that Scholastic Latin causae can be used in the sense you're looking for. I'm not trying to insult you by saying that -- although I am trying to express how hard it is to find a matching English word...

  • Chalk is related to a chalk board. So are the nails holding up the chalkboard. And so is the person writing on the chalkboard. II'm looking for a word to describe the way these things are related. I'm not sure project management has the answer but I'm open to suggestions. Jun 3, 2015 at 20:20
  • @billynoah Does the relation extend to the wall the chalkboard is nailed to, and/or the building that wall is in, and/or the town where the building is? I'm honestly not being fatuous, just trying to understand the nature of the relationship you're after.
    – Margana
    Jun 3, 2015 at 20:56
  • It's a valid question and it depends on scope. At some level it is true, you can make a direct connection between all things. The important thing is that the item is on the list. If it is on the list then it is related. I'm not talking about trying to figure out what's related here - only describing the fact that the thing is related by calling it a... Jun 3, 2015 at 21:08
  • @billynoah The more I think about this, the further I get from a solution. "Antecedent" is profoundly not the right word, since it implies (a) that its referents are abstractions or events, and (b) that its referents brought the thing they anteceded into being...
    – ExOttoyuhr
    Jun 3, 2015 at 21:53
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    The trouble is that we have words for this when it comes to humans. Relatives are people who are related. Associates are people who are associated. But what about non-human things? It really seems to me like there should be as concise a word for a less specific case. Jun 3, 2015 at 22:06

What about the word "association" ? Thing A is an association of Thing B. Or "associate". This works for either people or things.


Beel and Langor 2011, in a study of Mind mapping, refered to nodes. By using this term the relational aspect is conveyed by analogy.
Others writers on mind maps mention branches.

Brain science: talks of grid cells. =actual storage of items.

Information management: Quanta, tesserae, nodules, nuggets; from all of these the link is understood without implying a hierarchy. Phylum would add top-down.

I'm sure there's a botanical term, also, for the place where a bud will form on a branch.

  • Every example you just gave seems more akin to a descendent or child than related or associated in the boarder sense. Children, siblings, cells, branches, etc, all describe a specific type of relationship to one another or a parent. This is too specific for my use since I'm only looking to say they are related, not how they are related. Jun 3, 2015 at 22:44
  • @billynoah Will you allow a quibble? grid cells, nuggets. They just accumulate in clusters. But essentially you are right. They aren't particularly good for other reasons.
    – Hugh
    Jun 3, 2015 at 23:35

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