I feel like there is a special word for this but I don't remember what it is.

Here is an example, a poll often has the following choices:

A) Strongly Disagree ... B) Disagree ... C) Agree ... D) Strongly Agree

And now take a look at the following set of choices:

What is your favorite fruit?
A) Apple ... B) Banana ... C) Orange

Is there a word for the above set of choices? Notice that it is not a linear set of choices like the one above it.

Someone might say that Banana is in between Apple and Orange, but I want to respond with "those choices aren't linear, they are ____". What is a word that I can use to fill the blank?

  • Are you thinking of discrete? Jan 31, 2017 at 3:17
  • @approxiblue That's not what I was thinking about but it is a good option. Thanks. Jan 31, 2017 at 3:21
  • Are you looking for "multiple choice question"?
    – Laurel
    Jan 31, 2017 at 3:34
  • Together, the choices form an enumeration.
    – Drew
    Jan 31, 2017 at 4:11
  • They are independent.
    – Jim
    Jan 31, 2017 at 4:21

1 Answer 1


I think you're thinking of the statistics term nominal (sometimes in a compound with scale, data, value, etc.).

From Dictionary.com:

nominal scale
1. (statistics) a discrete classification of data, in which data are neither measured nor ordered but subjects are merely allocated to distinct categories: for example, a record of students' course choices constitutes nominal data which could be correlated with school results
Compare ordinal scale, interval scale, ratio scale

There's a brief explanation of these various scales here, from UsableStats. Your first example is ordinal (and specifically probably a Likert Scale—see Wikipedia).

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