I come from Stack Overflow, a site about programming, and I feel my question is too broad for them, as it’s more about English, and less about programming. This is more of a word-hunt than programming.

In short, I have a Database for a Web Application with different concepts within them, like Users, Courses, Lessons, etc. These concepts can have any name, but because I’m picky, I like to use one-word names for my concepts.

To explain how these concepts are related: I have Lessons, which are day-to-day exercises, like “Read this article”, or “Watch this video”. They’re typically about learning a small subset of a broader subject, like learning a Formula in a Math Class.

Then I have Series, which is the word in question that I would like to replace. Anyways, a Series is simply a collection of Lessons, to cover a general subset of a broader subject. This would be like learning about Quadratic Equations in Algebra. Each Formula is a Lesson, Quadratic Equations is the Series, and Algebra is the Course.

As you might have guessed, the third concept involved is Courses. These are much broader subjects, which are broken down into Series, which are then broken further down into Lessons.

The problem is: due to certain programming standards, Databases like to use words where a Table (or Concept) Name is the Plural Form of the Concept, like Courses, and each entry in the Table can then be labelled by its Singular Form, which would be Course, in this example. However, once we start using words like Series, where its Singular and Plural Forms are the same, distinguishing between the two can be troublesome.

Before you post ideas, there’s a few words that I’ve already rejected, because they weren’t quite what I was looking for:

  • Group (I’m already using this for a Concept that depicts a Group of People)
  • Collection (This is too vague. Something like Series has a unifying feel about it. The Lessons within a Series are related, and as such, the word should carry this meaning.)
  • Theme (This means something else to programmers. A Theme is the look-and-feel of a website, like “I want my main colors to be Red and White, with a Nav-Bar on the Left”.)
  • Subject (Better than theme, but still feels to specific.)
  • Topic (Feels too specific, and doesn’t share the same vibe as Course and Lesson.
  • Section (A “Course Section” is already a thing, if you’ve ever taken a college course. It’s basically the same Course with different Students.)
  • Series (The current name, but has the issue of being a defective noun.)

To define what I’m looking for, in case it helps:

A Collection of Lessons that share some common Theme, Goal, Subject, or Topic, but still a subset of a Course, which contains many of these.

If for some reason you think that I was wrong to reject one of the words I’ve already considered, then please let me know why you think that word is really the best choice.

  • A program maybe? Though that may be ambiguous in the context of a programming course :)
    – Dan Bron
    Oct 2, 2015 at 17:06
  • I guess I hadn't considered that, given my profession. Good thought, but it's still a bit iffy to me.
    – Boom
    Oct 2, 2015 at 17:09
  • 1
    Section makes the most sense to me, but since you say that won't work, perhaps segment?
    – Holly
    Oct 2, 2015 at 17:11
  • @Boom You could always disambiguate by using the British programme.
    – Dan Bron
    Oct 2, 2015 at 17:12
  • 1
    "Unit" would work. Try googling "Unit of Study."
    – jejorda2
    Oct 2, 2015 at 17:31

6 Answers 6


A lesson set.

Unless something more specific groups these particular lessons, this is about as good as it gets, AFAIK.

  • I'm looking for One-Word answers. Something like LessionSet just doesn't seem as clean to me.
    – Boom
    Oct 2, 2015 at 19:16

Curricula? Or would that be too broad, like a set of Courses?

  • 1
    To my understanding, it would indeed be too broad.
    – Hellion
    Oct 2, 2015 at 19:17
  • Yeah. Corricula to me seems like it should oversee Courses, not Lessons.
    – Boom
    Oct 2, 2015 at 19:18
  • 1
    Hi @PeteK, welcome to ELU. As a quick note, I recommend giving definitions, backed up with online dictionary links, when proposing words as answers to questions.
    – AndyT
    Oct 2, 2015 at 22:03

I've seen the word "module" used for this.

  • As have I, but module means something else in my project.
    – Boom
    Oct 6, 2015 at 17:46

Perhaps chapter

One of the main divisions of a relatively lengthy piece of writing, such as a book, that is usually numbered or titled.

American Heritage Dictionary

  • Chapter seems too book-like to me, which makes it seem too specific on the wrong idea.
    – Boom
    Oct 2, 2015 at 19:16


I have experience being university lecturer (actually senior lecturer, so I did the whole set of activities about my courses). And I use term subcourse in my CV.

"An academic course making up part of a larger course." - https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/subcourse

  • Subcourse is definitely the more direct term, but it doesn't seem elegant enough, as just using a sub prefix feels like cheating.
    – Boom
    Oct 2, 2015 at 19:17
  • I agree that it does not elegant enough. But I did not find more relevant for my CV. Many words in many langs use prefixes and it is ok. Langs are alive and people define them in their speech - not by rules.
    – Anonymous
    Oct 3, 2015 at 7:56

I've decided to go with Segment, as @HollyK suggested (See the comments in the OP).

Thanks for everyone's help.

If you still have suggestions, I'd love to see them.

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