I'm putting in a supply request at work and I'm asking for a class set of something, plus a few extras:

class set of 30 + 5 to cannibalize as parts inevitably go missing

I've looked up definitions...

a : to take salvageable parts from (something, such as a disabled machine) for use in building or repairing another machine

b : to make use of (a part taken from one thing) in building, repairing, or creating something else

and synonyms, but haven't found a single word synonym to use--only phrases such as "dismantle for parts."

  • Considering we generally use it in the phrase "cannibalize for parts", I'm almost tempted to post "dismantle" an answer, but you've already ruled that one out. Dec 13, 2018 at 1:09
  • "Part out" is an idiom with essentially the same meaning as this sense of "cannibalize".
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 13, 2018 at 1:14
  • 5
    You need to explain why cannibalize is unacceptable. Dec 13, 2018 at 5:35
  • 1
    Better asked on related tech SE. I'm quite sure there is a word the geeks use.
    – Kris
    Dec 13, 2018 at 9:05
  • "+ 5 to serve as parts donors" is probably the easiest option.
    – Phil Sweet
    Dec 13, 2018 at 23:14

5 Answers 5


In this case, while cannibalise is OK, the simpler "30 sets + 5 *for spare parts *" or even just "30 sets + 5 spares" is just as clear.

In general cannibalise and many of the suggestions in other answers work better applied to existing inventory, perhaps already past its best, rather than for new acquisitions.

  • yeah, that's why I was looking for another word/phrase
    – miltonaut
    Dec 14, 2018 at 20:13

In this context, I invite you to consider using "to repurpose" or "for repairs", for instance "class set of 30 + 5 for repurposing, as parts inevitably go missing"


First of all, cannibalise is an accepted form for taking apart machines for their parts. It is also used in French (i.e. cannibaliser) and Dutch (i.e. kannibaliseren).

Recycle (Wiktionary, 2018):

To break down and reuse component materials.

E.g. "+ 5 units to recycle"


Salvage (Cambridge Dictionary, 2018):

to save things from a place where other things have been damaged or lost

E.g. "+ 5 units for salvaging parts"


A common term is teardown as in an act of completely dismantling something.
often used with the intention of rebuilding as in racing cars see also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Product_teardown

class set of 30 + 5 to teardown as parts inevitably go missing


stripped out is a term for dismantling a machine for parts

  • 2
    Strip out is a good answer. It'd be a better answer for this site if it were sourced, perhaps including a dictionary definition. Perhaps take a look at how to answer.
    – tmgr
    Dec 13, 2018 at 12:50

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