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I am looking for a word, or multiple words, which would fit between the terms 'minor' and 'major'. For example: 'Major arterial road' and 'minor arterial road' describe two types of roads with particular traffic flows (and design requirements), but what if there is a scenario which does not fit any of the two precisely, but sits somewhere in between?

The reason I am asking is that I am attempting to devise a naming convention for drawing layers in CAD. Usually a 'minor' and a 'major' layer suffice. An example would be lines depicting concrete, where the 'major' lines are the outlines and edges and the 'minor' lines interior corners and hidden lines. Now I have come across a few scenarios where I need another option in between.

Please note that I am not asking for help with creating a naming convention. I am looking for a word in the English Language that is between 'minor' and 'major'.

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    Requests for naming tend to be closed as primarily opinion-based; one person might say just use primary, secondary, tertiary, etc. and another might suggest you have a primitive and then first-order derivative, second-order derivative, etc. and a third might say no, it should be elementary, intermediate, advanced. Who's to say that one is more correct than the others? But surely the world of drafting already has some kind of specialized terminology you can find with a little Googling.
    – choster
    Jan 30, 2018 at 6:30
  • Choster, thank you for your input. You make a good argument. Unfortunately the 'world of drafting' is very much like the real world, very diverse. From different industries, to different countries, to different software packages, everyone has their own way of doing things. I am attempting to simply this at the office. I was not looking for help with naming, I am looking for a word which would sit neatly between 'minor' and 'major', which is a language question. I will amend my question accordingly. Jan 30, 2018 at 6:46
  • 'Intermediate' will probably work once the context is defined. Jan 30, 2018 at 8:32
  • Usually, "major" and "minor" are used to distinguish from the thing with zero adjective. However, you could probably use whatever synonym of "medium/in the middle" or "basic/plain" you prefer and be understood.
    – 1006a
    Jan 30, 2018 at 15:56
  • Agree these are opinion and style based decisions - I would suggest "general" as a possibility as to my ear it is a bit more 'worthy' than 'plain' and less referential to the "could be even bigger" , or a "step up from the worst" of intermediate. But.. again, it is a style choice.
    – Tom22
    Jan 30, 2018 at 19:16

5 Answers 5

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Intermediate would work, as it means that it comes between two extremes.

Medium, mid, middle, and median could also work, and are pleasing because they begin with an M so fit with major and minor.

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  • The "M" words in second paragraph also fall alphabetically between major and minor, which might also be an advantage. May 10, 2023 at 10:03
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Major & minor come from Latin roots magnus & minor. The Latin for something towards the middle is medius... so the answer is medium.

Median comes from the same root, but that is a precise mathematical term that refers to something specific. Intermediate is derived from the same root, but the meaning is more like in-between two other things. Mid and Middle are of German origin, so they're out.

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  • Hello, Andy. I'm afraid I don't see this as an optimal answer; 'medium arterial road' is hardly to be found in a Google search, while 'major arterial road' is quite common and and 'minor arterial road' reasonably common. There's no need to avoid pairing words or even morphemes with different source languages; we'd have to get rid of 'television' if such a rule existed. May 10, 2023 at 14:06
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To me, arterial roads means roads within a city that are quite long and used for travel between suburbs or areas some distance apart. I find it hard to imagine why you could need an extra classification of those.
This may be wrong for your purposes, but perhaps your first classification could be between longer 'arterial roads', which pass by or through a number of suburbs or areas, and 'local or suburban streets' which are much shorter. You might then classify both into major or minor depending on the amount of traffic, etc.
Just a thought. I hope it helps.

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How about 'median' for your in-between layers?

https://www.google.com.sg/search?q=definition+median&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-sg&client=safari

Or you could use 'interstitial' which means 'occupying the space between'.

https://www.google.com.sg/search?q=interstitial&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-sg&client=safari

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How about "Moderate"? Its context is broad yet implicates neither extreme, though could be interpreted as an indication toward the upper-end of the scale between Minor and Major.

Personally, I would vote "Intermediate" as it suggests that multiple instances of the term could apply, e.g. a minor layer, a major layer and many intermediate layers.

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