In computing, "Low Level" can be understood to refer to a more base level of detail, and "High Level" to a higher level of detail as well as usage of "packages" made out of the "low level" constructs to achieve a higher level of abstraction.

I am looking for words alternative to High and Low as they have mentally misleading associations to be used in this context.

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    So you don't want to use terminology that people already understand, and you want alternatives for the same context?
    – user10893
    Commented Jul 18, 2011 at 21:38
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    "High level" and "low level" are also commonly used in the context of how "close" you are to the actual hardware/software interface either in code or in abstraction layer; hexadecimal machine code, ASM and in many circles C are all considered "low-level", while on the other end managed 4th-gen languages/frameworks like Java, C#, SQL etc are "high-level". So, it's a valid question.
    – KeithS
    Commented Jul 18, 2011 at 21:41
  • But in context, wouldn't someone know if you were referring to the overall level of a language versus the level of the details within that language?
    – user10893
    Commented Jul 18, 2011 at 21:43
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    @simchona : I will keep using them, but also need some alternatives that would help the students not to associate "low level" being something less important than "high level".
    – jimjim
    Commented Jul 18, 2011 at 21:46
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    @simchona : But you are aware of the context, and doing low level stuff doesn't sound bad in CS, just try to tell are not in CS todo something "low level", they think you are trying to insult them, KeithS has the point by mentioning the degrees of abstraction, I am just trying to find more neutral words thanh giving them the impression "high level" is harder/better than "low level" stuff, more detailed and less detailed came to mind but that too sounded like ommiting the importantce. Maybe I am overthinking this.
    – jimjim
    Commented Jul 18, 2011 at 22:33

2 Answers 2


You may be able to use the term "abstracted" to refer to "high-level" code. Code that is "highly abstracted" almost completely removes the consumer from implementation details. On the other end, code that is "unabstracted" provides the consumer with access to all the switches, gears and levers to control the underlying functionality, but conversely also requires the consumer to manage them.

  • Sounds good, a degree of concreteness and abstraction is way preferable to high/low ness of stuff at for the first exposure of the concepts.
    – jimjim
    Commented Jul 18, 2011 at 22:34

Building on @KeithS' answer, I think that abstract and concrete are good alternatives. They are common words and have also been adopted by the programming lingo to refer to the degree of abstraction along specialisation hierarchies, so they sort of fit.

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