I'm writing a Priority Queue. The details of it aren't important, but to describe a situation, I need a specific word.

It's possible for an item with the lowest priority to be the most important item in the queue.

As an example, say you have a task where the time left to complete it is the priority of the task. An item with less time left (assuming all work is equal) will have a higher priority.

The problem is expressing this idea in a few words coherently. If I wanted a function that creates a queue that prioritizes items of higher relational priority, I could call it new-high-priority-queue, or even just new-priority-queue. "Priority" just generally lends itself to urgency and an understanding that more == more.

How do I name a queue that prioritizes "low priority" items though? new-low-priority-queue? That sounds like all kinds of wrong. The best I could up with to express this idea was new-inverse-priority-queue, but that still sounds obscure. Of course I could/will add documentation, but it would be nice if the name of the queue spoke for itself.

  • It's about Location, Location, Location?
    – Greg Lee
    Commented May 29, 2018 at 0:58
  • @GregLee I'm not sure what you mean. Technically, the highest priority items are at the front of the queue. I'm just grasping to find a phrase to describe what is considered a priority item when lower values of priority correspond to a higher priority in the queue. Commented May 29, 2018 at 1:04
  • This is typically called shortest/nearest deadline scheduling
    – Jim
    Commented May 29, 2018 at 1:07
  • In retail pricing of real estate, where a house is located is all-important. That principle is referred to by "location, location, location". I guess that is a more general idea than what you're looking for.
    – Greg Lee
    Commented May 29, 2018 at 1:33
  • So, you're talking only about time-based priority. (There are many different criteria that could be used to determine something's priority—as well as its urgency.) Here, you're setting a priority that's inversely proportional to or calculated by (deadline-task completion time). Commented May 29, 2018 at 6:09

1 Answer 1


I'm no expert on computer programming by any means, but I've heard the terms min heap or min priority queue used to describe such queues that prioritize lower values.

I'm not sure if you would consider Wikipedia a valid source, but here and here are just a few examples of the terms "min heap" and "min priority queue" being used.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.