I'm looking for a term (single word or phrase) that describes the trick in software development to (typically exponentially) increase time between successive attempts to do an action on a server, for example logging in.

  • Context to use the phrase in
    With talking with other software developers about the design of Software API's and login screens.

  • Criteria for which the suggested phrase will be accepted
    Any term that has prevalent use in current software development literature would do: it should be well-known piece of jargon.

  • Phrases I didn't like
    A term I feel is not a great fit (but my best alternative so far) is "Throttling". It's not a great fit because it describes the overal speed with which interactions between client and server take place, whereas in my context I have as fast as possible interaction for the first (few) request(s), only decreasing response time after successive attempts.

  • [Searches] for a suitable phrase
    Skimming page 1 and 2 of "increased time between login attempts" gave no useful results. I've also looked through an online thesaurus (synonyms, and antonyms-of-antonyms) but found no suitable phrase.

I've got a feeling I've heard a specific bit of jargon for exactly what I want to express, but fail to remember what it was.

Any suggestions?

  • 1
    @BiscuitBoy I believe he's referring specifically to the act of making the time longer, rather than the time itself. Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 13:41
  • 1
    @Jeroen If you're after a more "nouny" version, why not timeout extension? Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 13:48
  • 1
    Related: If (something) starts happening less often we say the interval is increasing (the opposite of the rate increasing). Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 13:53
  • 7
    In the networking world, this is known as exponential backoff. Of course, that only applies in your scenario if your backoff is actually exponential. Otherwise it's just increasing, or even [strictly] monotonically increasing.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 14:05
  • 1
    @Jeroen - In networking, "latency" is used to refer to the time delay between processing instructions. I am not sure what the precise answer to your question is but I am just gonna give you - "lantesify"! (latency + intensify) :P
    – BiscuitBoy
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 14:05

1 Answer 1


Rate limiting describes enforcing only a certain number of attempts per unit of time. Progressive rate limiting describes decreasing the number of allowed attempts per the same unit of time.

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