I'm looking for a generic word that describes a fixed date and time, as an entry in a datebook, translating from the german word "Termin".

An online translation tool suggests "appointment, deadline, date, due date" and various synonyms. What i'm looking for is a generic term that encompasses all of these.

"I have an appointment at 5 pm" suggests i'm meeting with someone at that time, so it doesn't fit the "deadline" idea. "I have a date at 5 pm" is even worse as it strongly suggests a "romantic" meeting. "Deadline" and "Due date" seem to exclude the "time to meet with someone" meaning.

Another word i considered is "event", but that seems to focus too much on "what is happening" instead of "when is it happening".

So, is there a generic term that means "fixed date and time", that can mean all of "appointment", "date", "deadline", "fixed time to make a phone call", "time to water my plants", "day and time when i was born", and that doesn't (strongly) suggest one specific of those meanings ?

  • I don't believe there is such a word in English.
    – JDF
    Apr 28 '16 at 11:36
  • timepoint is a rare but understandable compound word for a generic "point in time," however it's not really used for scheduling.
    – stevesliva
    Apr 29 '16 at 6:13

English doesn't seem to have a generalized equivalent. We tend to break those things up by type-- hence "appointment", "deadline", "date", etc.

However, you could possibly use the word "thing" in casual conversation. To a friend: I have a thing at noon today or even just I have a thing would be both acceptable and understood. It indicates that you have something, but not what. It generally indicates that you have something to do, but depending on context you might also be able to indicate just a date/time, with no kind of meeting/activity associated with it.

  • 1
    Some examples to support this answer, i.e no generic word: den Termin einhalten (meet the dealine) / Haben Sie einen Termin? (do you have an appointment?) / Ich würde gerne einen Termin mit ... vereinbaren (I would like to organize a meeting with ...) / am ehesten Termin (as soon as possible).
    – Graffito
    Apr 28 '16 at 13:07
  • "I have a task at 5pm" is almost as vague as thing.
    – stevesliva
    Apr 29 '16 at 6:10
  • @stevesliva It is, yeah, but "task" always indicates something to do. "Thing" doesn't necessarily, although that's dependent on context.
    – senschen
    Apr 29 '16 at 11:00
  • Marking this as correct, not because it solves my problem, but for explaining that there is no good way to solve it. May 1 '16 at 19:05

Since you feel that “appointment” doesn’t fit the “deadline” idea, you'll perhaps have the same issue with “engagement” (not to mention that it, like “date,” also has a ‘romantic’ sense!).

Although it doesn’t necessarily expand the meaning of “engagement” to include any more of the “deadline” idea that it might have already, it is interesting to note, however, that Collins’ “Reverso” site translates:
engagement diary” as “Terminkalender”.

Personally, I think that “engagement” alone does include enough of the notion of “deadline” to use as a single word to express what you’re after, but perhaps by adding “binding” to it (to get “binding engagement”) you could capture better the notion of “deadline.”

Finally, for a single word that would not require the addition of "binding" to capture the “deadline” idea, you could consider “obligation.”
Although certainly not specific to discussions of times and dates, it can be used in that context (e.g., “Sorry, I can’t come because of a prior obligation”)

engagement n.
1. the act of engaging or the state of being engaged.
2. an appointment or arrangement, esp. to be somewhere or do something at a particular time.
3. an agreement to marry; betrothal.
4. a pledge; an obligation or agreement.
5. employment, or a period or post of employment.
6. an encounter, conflict, or battle.
7. the act or state of interlocking.

obligation n.
1. something by which a person is bound to do certain things, and which arises out of a sense of duty or results from custom, law, etc.
2. something done or to be done for such reasons: to fulfill one's obligations.
3. a binding promise, contract, sense of duty, etc.
4. the act of obligating oneself, as by a promise or contract.
5. a. an agreement enforceable by law. b. a document setting forth such an agreement.
6. any bond, certificate, or the like, as of a government or a corporation, serving as evidence of indebtedness.
7. an indebtedness or amount of indebtedness.
8. a debt of gratitude.
9. the state of being under a debt.

(both from ‘RANDOM HOUSE KERNERMAN WEBSTER’S COLLEGE DICTIONARY,’ with emphasis added to the meanings most relevant to the question/answer)

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