In a recipe we might have: "Flour: 2 cups".

In chemistry, the analog is like: "2 drops of water".

Similarly, In medicine: "Aspirin: 80mg".

The name of the substance by itself has names like "ingredient", "reagent", "medication". Likewise, the amount can be called "amount" or "dosage".

But I need a name for both together and haven't been able to think of what to call it. Is there a word or phrase that means that?

Perhaps it would be used like this: The third ???? in the recipe is "2 cups flour"

EDIT: A word that is really close is the medical usage of "prescription". For example, "The prescription was for 80mg of aspirin."

  • 1
    You can use 'item'. "The third item in the recipe is "2 cups flour."" – Ubi hatt Aug 6 '18 at 19:24
  • 1
    But item doesn't have the meaning of "type of something + amount of it" – BruceDLong Aug 6 '18 at 19:45
  • 3
    BruceDLong, what makes you think there should be one such word? – Michael Harvey Aug 6 '18 at 19:51
  • 1
    That is why I asked for a word OR phrase. It is so common that a substance is specified with an amount that I think there may be such a word. But I don't know for sure, of course. – BruceDLong Aug 6 '18 at 19:56
  • 1
    I'm not sure you can't use "ingredient" in a looser sense. "The third ingredient in the recipe is 2 cups flour". Even if that is not technically correct, nobody would see that and go "Whoa! that just doesn't sound right." I'd call it within the bounds of literary license. – fixer1234 Aug 7 '18 at 0:20

Perhaps formula?

From Dictionary.com:

5a) a prescription for making up a medicine, baby's food, etc
 b) substance prepared according to such a prescription
  • This is really very close. Probably close enough for my purpose. I suppose technically, what I want is a "term" in a formula. In a term like "3X" the three is the amount and the X is the type. But term doesn't sound right for some reason. I'm going with formula. – BruceDLong Aug 7 '18 at 4:38

In general, you're not going to find a word that encompasses both the type of item and the quantity (or mass or value). However, there are specialized words that refers to a multiplicity of a specific type of animal, for instance:

  • A pride of lions
  • A zeal (or dazzle) of zebras
  • A sleuth of bears

Getting closer to your question, though, you're going to be hard-pressed to find the words you are looking for, since they probably don't even exist. The only word I can think of that comes close to what you are looking for is clove, since it almost always refers specifically to a clove of garlic, where you have a specific item (garlic) and a specific amount (clove). But even there, it would sound odd to just ask for a clove; you'd almost always say a "garlic clove."

  • "A clove" does have a meaning in recipes, but it has nothing to do with garlic. – TimLymington Aug 6 '18 at 20:41
  • I looked it up on dictionary.com and see that TimLymington is correct, though, when you go to the grocery store, you can ask for a clove of garlic and get a ready response, but you would get some stares if you asked the produce person for a clove of blueberries, strawberries, or honeydoo. – JoshG Aug 6 '18 at 20:49
  • It wasn't your suggestion for a word or phrase, but you DID use the phrase "multiplicity of a specific type". Technically that would work but I'm hoping for something more sonorous. – BruceDLong Aug 6 '18 at 21:11
  • 1
    Well, if you get James Earl Jones to say it, it will be more sonorous. – JoshG Aug 6 '18 at 22:23
  • You can sort of do it with a generic term for the type or function of the item, but it is one item at a time. For example: "the sweetener in the recipe is 2 tsp sugar". – fixer1234 Aug 7 '18 at 0:13

Among "Flour: 2 cups," "2 drops of water," and "Aspirin: 80mg," one word that expresses the same idea for all of them is measure:


1 a (1) : an adequate or due portion
d (1) : a measured quantity

Hence, you would dispense a measure of flour, water, or aspirin.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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