Can we say, for instance, that once the base case for a recursive procedure is reached, the recursive process consisting of the evaluation of the procedure 'unwinds'? Here, the term 'unwind' would roughly mean "collects all deferred values until the entry point of the recursive procedure is met."

I understand that 'unwinds' may hint at a 'winding' process occurring beforehand, which happens to be the evaluation of the procedure up to the point of reaching the base case, however, I would not feel comfortable with using 'unevaluates' in order to maintain linguistic symmetry.

closed as off topic by JeffSahol, T.E.D., jimreed, Mitch, Mr. Shiny and New 安宇 Nov 10 '11 at 16:15

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    Voting to move to programmers.so, but : 'Unwind' is indeed the word I would use, though it is not specific to a recursive procedure. It refers to the call stack, which can be added to by recursive and non-recursive calls. – JeffSahol Nov 10 '11 at 14:20
  • Personally, I would use rewind, but in principle they're both suitable. The call stack is central to most implementations of recursion, and this Wikipedia article on the subject uses both words. – FumbleFingers Nov 10 '11 at 14:23
  • @FumbleFingers - Yeah. If you don't need the stack, you could have used a simple loop. – T.E.D. Nov 10 '11 at 14:48
  • @FumbleFingers - rewind to me implies that it's ready to evaluate again, in the same way, which is not the semantics I'm trying to name. – Alexis Petrounias Nov 10 '11 at 15:12
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    I agree with the commenters: unwind is the standard terminology, and it refers to the stack. Often "unwind the stack" is in fact the description. If you are using a non recursive method, contrary to the question, unwind would be less appropriate, and would be used more as an analog to the recursive. – Fraser Orr Nov 10 '11 at 15:19