What's the word for the situation that a thing is X for A, but is Y for B? what property does it have in order to have this ability to shape-shift like that according to the perspective of the observer?

For example: I'm a father to my son, but I'm also a son for my mother. so what is the thing that differentiated between how my mom and how my son sees me?

Another one: a man's junk is another man's treasure: what's the property that this item has that it can be viewed by different perspective?

close-related words: role, position, identity, perspective.

  • This is still a bit unclear. Can you 1) give more examples, 2) give a sentence with a blank for the word you're seeking, 3) are you looking for 'metaphor' or 'ratio' or 'relation' 4) give anything else that could help?
    – Mitch
    Commented Jan 25, 2019 at 1:29
  • 1
    'One man's meat is another man's poison,' is not a property of the thing being discussed. It is, as you say in your question, a matter of the different perspectives of the beholder(s). For beauty (or ugliness) is in the eye of the beholder. (Not in the material presence of that which is viewed.)
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jan 25, 2019 at 3:27
  • Perspective it is, and you already noted that.
    – Kris
    Commented Jan 25, 2019 at 7:48

1 Answer 1


"Contextual Role"
A person or thing is required to play different roles in different contexts.

I may be president of a corporation when at work, but a parent to my child at home, a customer at the bank and a patient at the doctor's office.

I know of no single word as yet, though.

  • That's it! a context. the way people sees an object depends on the context it is shown. thanks!
    – ar36el
    Commented Jan 25, 2019 at 21:54

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