Is there a word or short phrase for telling that a timespan has not yet started? In this case, I want to apply it to licenses, which have a timespan within which they are valid.

  • If the current time is after the license's validity period, the license is expired.

  • If the current time is within the license's validity period, the license is valid.

  • If the current time is before the license's validity period, the license is ______.

  • "the licence commences on ..."; "... not yet commenced"; "valid from ..."; "yet to start". – TrevorD Jun 1 '16 at 11:00
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    ... not yet effective. – vickyace Jun 1 '16 at 11:47
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    There isn't a single word for it. – user173199 Jun 1 '16 at 13:49
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    @Autoresponder Abeyance has the idea of disuse or suspension rather than 'pre-validity'. There's an expectation that something more substantial than the passage of time is needed before it's (again) available. – Lawrence Jun 1 '16 at 14:15
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    presumptive? It might be revoked before attaining applicability. – jobermark Jun 1 '16 at 16:01

You can say that the license is unbegun.

(Collins Dictionary)

Unbegun - not commenced; not yet started

  • I've chosen this, since it comes closed to what "validity time has not yet begun". In my context, the license is a software license that was already paid for and given to the customer, so no other steps like approving are necessary before it becomes valid. Also, I like the newspeak-touch of this (1984) :-) – Jost Jun 2 '16 at 5:18
  • I've chosen this since it comes closest to what "validity time has not yet begun" means in my context. In this context, the license is a software license that was already paid for and given to the customer, so no other steps like approving are necessary before it becomes valid. Also, I like the newspeak-touch of this (1984) :-) (<- I've corrected the grammar, hopefully) – Jost Jun 2 '16 at 5:57
  • Risky: The other, often the primary, sense is "not having a beginning; always existing" – Kris Jun 2 '16 at 7:10
  • Isn't there a duty to use commonplace words that the general public will understand here? Isn't the reader in all likelihood going to be confused unless they take a bit of joy out of happening upon fairly esoteric words? – Kieren Johnstone Jun 6 '16 at 6:32

You could use pending


Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to pending: sale pending
pend·ing  (pĕn′dĭng)
1. Not yet decided or settled; awaiting conclusion or confirmation.
2. Impending; imminent.
1. While in the process of; during.
2. While awaiting; until.

or, upcoming


up·com·ing  (ŭp′kŭm′ĭng)
Occurring soon; forthcoming.

upcoming (ˌʌpˈkʌmɪŋ)
coming soon; forthcoming

up•com•ing (ˈʌpˌkʌm ɪŋ) 
coming up; about to take place, appear, or be presented: the upcoming spring fashions.
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    To me, pending could imply that it is still awaiting approval or similar. I read the question as meaning that the licence has been granted/approved but it's validity period has not yet commenced - but I may be wrong! – TrevorD Jun 1 '16 at 11:02
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    I think you're right that it's ambiguous - pending can mean either "Upcoming" or "Awaiting approval". In a context where there could potentially be an aspect of waiting for approval then that ambiguity probably makes it a bad choice. – Max Williams Jun 1 '16 at 11:08
  • +1.*Pending* seems like the right term, with the available context. – Autoresponder Jun 1 '16 at 14:53
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    Upcoming conveys the "future" quality, without the "not yet decided" connotation of Pending. +1 for Upcoming. – Jason Clark Jun 1 '16 at 18:45
  • It's neither pending not impending by any definition of the terms. – Kris Jun 2 '16 at 7:14

Try prospective as in "prospective license," "valid license" and "expired license."

Merriam Webster

effective in the future.

  • I would say that prospective has the same problem as pending, as discussed in the comments under the answer from @MaxWilliams. You've actually confirmed that by giving one meaning as "likely to be or become". – TrevorD Jun 1 '16 at 11:35
  • @TrevorD but that is one of the several meanings. What if i had posted just the first one? – vickyace Jun 1 '16 at 11:37
  • I would have still made the same comment. The point is that OP wants a word to clarify a particular status - and therefore IMHO it needs to be unambiguous, and I would say that prospective is ambiguous. See the response from @MaxWilliams to my earlier comment. – TrevorD Jun 1 '16 at 11:39
  • @TrevorD You are right. I guess op would have to settle for something else. – vickyace Jun 1 '16 at 11:43
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    @TrevorD So in a nutshell op wants a terse of "the license will be effective soon" in a word. – vickyace Jun 1 '16 at 11:46

Consider Impending (dictionary.com)

about to happen; imminent

It is basically the "next step up" from pending, where the official outcome is unresolved. Impending means it will happen, just not yet.

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    I don't know if this is just due to it often being paired with the word "doom", but "impending" sounds quite threatening, I think. – Max Williams Jun 2 '16 at 7:27

A few other words not suggested yet:

  • the licence is on stand-by
  • the licence is awaiting activation
  • the licence is scheduled
  • the licence is ready (which to me implies it's not yet in use)

Consider poised to begin.

Poise verb 1.1 (be poised) Be ready and prepared to do something - ODO

Here's an example of the term in use in this sense:

6 Razorbacks poised to begin NFL careers this week - wholehogsports.com

When used with an inanimate noun such as a licence or a project, poised to begin relates to a metaphorical posture of readiness. Here is an example:

Pacific NorthWest LNG project poised to begin despite abundant supply - Brent Jang, The Globe and Mail

  • Poised implies intention. A licence doesn't have intention because it doesn't have a mind. – Max Williams Jun 1 '16 at 12:32
  • @MaxWilliams Projects don't have minds either, but they can be poised to begin. I've added another example and a note along these lines. – Lawrence Jun 1 '16 at 12:55
  • Hmmm. Perhaps there's an implication with the usage with projects that it's the project's team that is poised, but I take your point. I still think it's not right for licences. – Max Williams Jun 1 '16 at 12:56

With a tip of the hat to @vickyace

One often speaks of licences as being in full force and effect for one or more periods.

If "valid" = in effect, prior to being valid = not [yet] in effect or not [yet] in force

effect: The condition of being in full force or execution; operativeness


"Not yet valid"

Seems the most obvious and explicit, because it implies that as time passes it will become valid. "Not Yet" gives it the element of setting up a timeline.


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