What would be one word (noun) to describe something that undergoes a removal (has something removed from it)? For example, something that undergoes multiplication is a multiplicand. Something that undergoes an absence is an absentee. However neither removend or removee sound correct.


  • The duplicates were removed from the removend.

  • I removed 30 objects from the removend.

I want to know so I can have better (and more general) variable names than stuff like list_with_duplicates.

I'm not looking for the name of the stuff that is removed from the group, I am looking for a word for the group that the objects will be removed from.

  • It's not clear what undergoes the removal. Generally, the thing removed "undergoes the removal", not what it is removed from, because one says "X is removed from Y". However, if you search this site (or elsewhere, but of course I couldn't possibly recommend anywhere better than here!) for deduplicate you may find something.
    – Andrew Leach
    Dec 23, 2015 at 7:22
  • Your absentee example isn't particularly helpful: last I checked the kid who didn't go to school is absent from school, not absent from "absentee". It's relevance to the sentences you have "removend" in is therefore non-existent.
    – AndyT
    Dec 23, 2015 at 9:13
  • If you have some doubts on "minuend" that refers to a number rather than a group, you may use, depending on the context, "initial set" or "current set".
    – Graffito
    Dec 23, 2015 at 12:34

4 Answers 4


The thing from which something is subtracted is the minuend:-

The quantity from which another quantity, the subtrahend, is to be subtracted. In the equation 50 - 16 = 34, the minuend is 50. [American Heritage Dictionary]

As explained in the above definition, the thing subtracted is the subtrahend:-

A quantity or number to be subtracted from another. [American Heritage Dictionary]

So you could say the duplicates were removed from the minuend.

  • 1
    Brian, I shall be forever in your debt for introducing me to these two words, which seem to me to be recondite in the extreme. I am going to attempt to get them into conversation over Christmas dinner though...somehow! :) Dec 23, 2015 at 9:21

OK, it sounds like we're focusing on lists of words. In that case, people in IT often talk about "populating" things, so we might say that something from which words have been removed has been depopulated - though I don't know if that's a standard term.

But I think you said you're looking for a noun. If that's the case, then I'm stuck at the moment, unless master list, original list or default list would work.

  • I'm not looking for a name for what is removed, I'm looking for a name for what they're removed from.
    – Bretsky
    Dec 23, 2015 at 7:52
  • Well, whiskers are removed from a face. ;) All seriousness aside, I suspect the answer is going to depend somewhat on what is being removed. Cutting down trees results in a logged forest, while shooting excess deer results in a culled herd. Removing data from a spreadsheet would leave something else entirely. Dec 23, 2015 at 7:56
  • Objects are being removed from a list. The type of object is not defined, so the objects can be any type really. I'm looking for a more general word. Similar to your last example.
    – Bretsky
    Dec 23, 2015 at 8:01
  • Default list has the kind of meaning I'm looking for. If there was a single word for that it'd be great.
    – Bretsky
    Dec 23, 2015 at 10:20

There are a number of words, but they tend to have connotations attached to specific contexts. There is remainder:

I smashed the country and western CDs in the music collection, but I still listen to the remainder.

In the law, the remainder is what's left of your estate after creditors and the tax man get through with it. In mathematics, it's what's left over after long division, as in "when you divide 11 by 7, the remainder is 4."

You could use remnant, if you don't mind the connotation of the left-over portion being small. The same with residue, which has its use as a term of art in chemistry to designate what's left over after a chemical reaction. Residue also has a definition in the mathematical field of complex analysis.

The word imported from Latin, residuum, is a more general term, and the OED finds uses of the residual as a noun meaning the "product of a residuum.


You can consider redundant


characterized by verbosity or unnecessary repetition




superfluous (adj.)

beyond what is needed : not necessary



Your examples can be re-written as :

  • I removed 30 redundant objects

  • The superfluous entries were removed.

If you are looking for a noun specifically, inessential(in the noun form) could fit the bill, though it may sound a little contrived.

inessential (noun)

a thing that is not absolutely necessary.


Thus, you can probably say,

  • The duplicates were removed from the inessential.

  • I removed 30 objects from the inessential.

  • I'm looking for nouns, because I need a word to represent an object, not an attribute.
    – Bretsky
    Dec 23, 2015 at 7:29
  • I'm looking for a word that represents a group that has objects that will be removed. Inessentials implies that the entire group is composed of inessential objects, which it is not. I'm not looking for a name for what is removed, I'm looking for a name for what they're removed from.
    – Bretsky
    Dec 23, 2015 at 7:51
  • You are essentially looking for a noun that does not exist. I logically assumed you were going to remove a list of objects/entries since they were unnecessary and answered
    – BiscuitBoy
    Dec 23, 2015 at 8:10
  • I would not put "s" after the essential. Contrast it with the young*/*the youngs should respect the old*/*the olds.
    – user140086
    Dec 23, 2015 at 10:34

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