I'm trying to find a good word that properly points out the difference between any nouns original state and its current state, assuming the original and current will always be the only two states of the noun.

For example, if I want to compare the original condition of a phone to the current condition, what word would be used to describe the inquiry itself, explicitly dealing with the original phone state and the current phone state?

I would imagine "history" would be one answer, but to me, "history" implies several potential states (original, at this date, at this other date, currently, etc.), whereas in my case I will only ever have exactly two states, no less and no more (since a new phone will be in its original and its current state).

Another could be "comparison," but that again sounds to me like it could be a comparison of any two states, not explicitly the original state and the current state.

Does such a word exist?

  • 1
    You need to indicate (a) that time has passed, and (b) that this fact is noticeable and relevant. Current state says it all. Dec 21, 2017 at 17:59
  • Correct, those two are both prerequisites, however, current state points to a specific state of the object, whereas I'm looking for a word that describes the comparison itself between the current and original states. For context, this is for a piece of software, so that level of specifics is necessary. I may just not worry about it and resign to using "history" as the descriptive word.
    – user124605
    Dec 21, 2017 at 19:07
  • You might use something like divergence, which would indicate how much the current thing is different from a thing that hadn't changed.
    – jxh
    Dec 22, 2017 at 0:09
  • 1
    @user124605: all that is a normal invited inference of current state. Current presupposes a history, and designating a state as current means there is felt to be some difference (almost certainly negative) between the original state and the current. Otherwise, why specify current, which always refers to the time of speaking? Dec 22, 2017 at 1:49
  • 124605, where did you get the idea you should only ever have exactly two states… Beneath that, where did phones come in, please? I thought most of us saw all phones as simply working, or faulty. Correct me if you see different choices… Whatever your native language, any noun’s isn’t grammatically wrong but why you might set it against any thing’s is a mystery. There's nothing specifically wrong with your Question, and I suggest you'll be hard pressed to find three people who understand, or two who support it… Dec 22, 2017 at 16:47

4 Answers 4


From my experience in highschool physics, I think of displacement. In physics we used displacement to express how far away an object was from a decided point, as opposed to distance, which we used to express how far an object had moved.

From Google Dictionary definition 1c:

the amount by which a thing is moved from its normal position.

From MWD definition 2b:

the difference between the initial position of something (such as a body or geometric figure) and any later position

  • I might also say that this as the net change to the state of the object
    – evn
    Sep 21, 2018 at 14:27

I suggest that a word that 'would be used to describe the inquiry itself, explicitly dealing with the original phone state and the current phone state' would be status :

The state or condition of a person or thing; the current situation or state of affairs with regard to someone or something.


The OED suggests a more full title, that of a 'status report' :

n. a report describing the current situation with regard to a business, project, matter, etc., esp. one in a series of such reports summarizing a changing state of affairs.


Here's the difficulty with your question as I find it. You're essentially talking about checking or cross-referencing changes between two different states at two points in time. "Change" just means a difference, it would be really hard to find a word that denotes verifying an original condition is the same as the condition at some later time, partly because even the original "thing" was created or assembled from precursor parts. So I don't think there's specifically a word for this.

However, in the context of what you're saying, for example you want to compare the phone's original condition to one at a later stage, it sounds as if you want to know whether the phone/gadget is exactly as it was when it came out of the factory/manufacturer. In this light I'd suggest maybe:

tamper check

(I know it's two words, but hyphenate it and it's one ;-) ? )
Tamper-evident technology

If you look through that article you'll see that it encompasses all sorts of things such as checking that a food package is in its original state, to ensuring the original state of ancient Roman letters sealed with wax which is impressed with a signet ring.

Also, you can use a word like:


This word generally means to verify as being genuine/real. This isn't a word specifically fitted to your example, however I argue that "authenticating" can be a process of checking whether the original product/item out from a factory/manufacturer has been modified in any way. So you can authenticate its originality, or authenticate its integrity by comparison with its original (factory-original) state. "Certify" could also work.


I cannot think of any that do not come in pairs. These point to the moment of transition.

"The phone was fine Before this happened whereas it is in this state Afterwards."

"It is Now this way while it was better Previously."

Perhaps you should be looking for a verb describing the event. "The phone was Ruined on this date."

  • Welcome to EL&U. Your answer could be improved with references to support the usage you describe, and also by proper capitalisation. Dec 21, 2017 at 19:32

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