I am searching for a word which embodies the total of parts (things) which were designed to fit together. For example:

A screwdriver “kit” commonly contains a screwdriver handle and screwdriver bits, potentially drive guides, etc.

While the individual pieces might be called components or parts, how can we refer to the whole?

In the example I gave above, kit is already pretty good, but it is a little bit too physical and with too little emphasis on the ability to be compatible with each other.

Some ideas I’ve had so far:

  • System — Too generic, fallback if nothing more specific comes along.
  • Set — Too generic, contains a nuance less "intent" of being put together, but less ambiguous connotations when compared to system.
  • School (as in school of thought) — A little bit too lofty or ephemeral. Too close to animals (school of fish)?
  • Nomenclature — Would be ideal if there were such a thing as an *objeclature for objects rather than nouns. Brings together the notion of being intentionally designed or selected with the notion that it is more than two items.
  • Accessories — Would be great if there were a primary item that stood out among the others. Yet, as with the screwdriver example, I want to include the screwdriver itself in the set.
  • Component set — Wordy but otherwise pretty fitting.
  • Assemblage — Sounds like the parts were already combined together rather than being bundled together for being assembled by the user.
  • Series — Could be fitting, but has a strong temporal scent. Seems to indicate more than one in a line of things, not intended to complement/combine but to replace. Do you like our new Screwdriver Series X500?
  • Array — Seems to implicate an individual number of items being positioned (that is, located) next to each other rather than the possibility of combining things.
  • Collection — Good emphasis on being designed from a single hand (e.g., our collection of excellent wines), yet unclear on whether the individual pieces would blend or work together.

I could go on, but I hope you might have better ideas already.

If possible, the word should carry some connotations of:

  1. The individual items being designed together.
  2. The items go mechanically together.
  3. The items belong to the same manufacturing process and level of quality.
  4. The items being self-contained and needing no outside additions or extras.
  5. The items being still separate and not assembled into a whole
  6. The whole being of value (kit, for instance, sounds a little cheap).
  • 2
    The choice of a word depends on what these things are you are trying to put into one word. What are they? Widgets? Wines?
    – Lambie
    Commented Sep 10, 2016 at 19:12
  • Surgical instruments, i.e. physical tools. Commented Sep 10, 2016 at 19:23
  • 2
    You should have said that from the beginning. Definitely a set. But I think you mean go together, not fit together, that's for puzzles.
    – Lambie
    Commented Sep 10, 2016 at 19:41
  • Here is a use of “set”: dremed.com/catalog/index.php/cPath/… however it might depend on the usage model. If this is intended to stock an operating room set would work, If this is intended to be taken into the field then kit might be more appropriate.
    – Jim
    Commented Sep 11, 2016 at 18:31
  • As far as screwdrivers go, a grandiose name might be “A complete threaded fastening system
    – Jim
    Commented Sep 11, 2016 at 18:32

5 Answers 5


How about set?

From Merriam-Webster:

set: a number of things of the same kind that belong or are used together

Set carries the following connotations specified by the OP:

  • The individual items having been designed together
  • The items fitting mechanically together
  • The items belong to the same manufacturing process and level of quality
  • The items being self-contained and needing no outside addition or extras
  • The items being still separate and not assembled into a whole
  • The whole being of value ("kit" for instance - sounds a little cheap)
  • Yes, I should have thought of that. The mathematical terms in English and French respectively are set and ensemble. Commented Sep 10, 2016 at 19:09
  • The same arrangement with socket spanners is usually called 'a socket set'
    – WS2
    Commented Sep 10, 2016 at 19:23
  • I always feel that "set" is very generic and while it can convey the meaning, it could also mean that all the parts are just lumped together (tire set). In the mathematical sense "A collection of individual things". Commented Sep 10, 2016 at 19:28
  • A set of tools. OK for any type of tools, surgical or otherwise.
    – Lambie
    Commented Sep 10, 2016 at 19:42
  • @ChristopherOezbek I don't think of the parts as just lumped together, i.e., as in a random collection. They are intended to be used together and to be sufficient to enable the user to perform a variety of closely related tasks. An obvious example is tool set. Commented Sep 10, 2016 at 20:09

How about ensemble ? While this often refers to a collection of clothing (in the sense of wardrobe, although that can also refer to the piece of furniture) in English, it also is used in statistical mechanics in the sense you describe. In French, it's meaning is much closer to what you want. And the pronunciations are almost the same.

  • Dear David! Thanks that is an excellent suggestion. It conveys well, that these things are meant to be together and combine well. The only sad part is that it might not be English "enough" and easily misunderstood. Commented Sep 10, 2016 at 19:32
  • This answer has received two negative votes. I have no idea why. Commented Sep 11, 2016 at 5:16
  • I don't know either. Commented Sep 11, 2016 at 18:45

Knock-down kit / knockdown kit / knocked-down kit , or simply knockdown


A knock-down kit is a kit containing the parts needed to assemble a product. The parts are typically manufactured in one country or region, then exported to another country or region for final assembly. Variant names include knockdown kit, knocked-down kit, or simply knockdown, and the abbreviated KD or CKD.

A common form of knock-down is a complete knock-down (CKD), which is a complete kit needed to assemble a product.

  • This sounds like a British use. Kit used in this sense is not that often seen in Canada or the US. Commented Sep 11, 2016 at 0:18
  • @DavidHandelman it's an industry specific term, more or less an automotive and heavy industry tax scheme as such it's used industry wide and worldwide.
    – Helmar
    Commented Sep 11, 2016 at 10:57
  • For me the connotations are too strong on being disassembled into pieces from a whole for reassembly later on and that all pieces must be reassembled to make one product. No notion of partial configurations being valid. Commented Sep 11, 2016 at 18:50




a : the fitting together of manufactured parts into a complete machine, structure, or unit of a machine

b : a collection of parts so assembled

Say your car was damaged in a minor accident. The mechanic tells you it's not possible to buy the individual part to replace the headlight lens, or cover; you have to order the whole assembly (which includes the headlight and the indicator light and the cover).

You can also say


Think of the lunar module!

Trying again.


When you buy a trombone outfit, you get the trombone, the case (perhaps with backpack straps), and the care kit, which includes Pocket-Sized Spray Water Bottle, Slide Oil, Slide Cream, Flexible Cleaning Snake, Mouthpiece Brush and Polishing Cloth.

  • Too much in violation of point 5: "The items being still separate and not assembled into a whole." Commented Sep 11, 2016 at 18:45
  • Oops, I didn't notice that requirement. I will try again. Commented Sep 12, 2016 at 4:27

What about apparatus ?

It is a collection or combination of instruments, machinery, tools, parts or other equipment having a particular function or intended for a specific purpose.


Power transmission apparatus: all components of the mechanical system which transmit energy to the part of the machine performing the work. These components include flywheels, pulleys, belts, connecting rods, couplings, cams, spindles, chains, cranks, and gears.

  • Worthy, strongly mechanical, but also very much already assembled. I would like to put more emphasis on the pieces than the whole. Commented Sep 10, 2016 at 19:37

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