The German bureaucratic term Weglegesache is used in German public administration to refer to documents that they are forced to keep for a certain amount of time, but which are very unlikely ever to get retrieved/used.

I am searching for a translation that keeps the bureaucratic context and communicates that it refers to a bureaucratic action. The term Weglegesache is intended to be used as a title for a piece of art, so I can't just describe it in the translation.

  • 1
    The literal translation would appear to be "laid-away thing" or slightly more idiomatically, "laid-up thing". When I was working in the Civil Service we used to have files put away but that's almost jargon because it could (but doesn't) just mean "stored in the cupboard". "Put away" meant "sent to the bowels of the Repository for the next hundred years".
    – Andrew Leach
    Jun 15, 2019 at 15:04
  • You could do a search on "Filed under pending" to see if that bureaucratic term meets your needs.
    – Shoe
    Jun 15, 2019 at 16:08
  • but doesn't "Filed under pending" just mean it hasn't been resolved yet?
    – Leander
    Jun 15, 2019 at 16:46
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    Does just plain 'archived' sound right?
    – Mitch
    Jun 15, 2019 at 17:09
  • @Mitch That's what we used to call such documents in British local government.
    – BoldBen
    Jun 15, 2019 at 17:18

2 Answers 2


The bureaucratic term "file/d under pending" can mean neutrally "file/d until it comes up for a scheduled action or until some event makes it current again".

But it can also have the connotation "file/d in the hope or expectation that no further action will ever be taken on it".

For example,

"Everything can be filed under pending."

From a humorous collection of "incredibly useful terms for the workplace".

And the following extracts from three Google books which show up on the first page of a search on "filed under pending" also appear to have the same connotation of "filed and (intentionally) forgotten":

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Source: Legal and other Issues in Repatriating Nigeria's Looted Artefacts

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Source: Making an Exhibition of Myself: the autobiography of Peter Hall

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Source: Why we die

In my opinion Filed under pending would be a good, ambiguous title for a work of art.


I won't say it's in common usage (I came across it in a book by Leslie Thomas) but Moribund Documents would be a good phrase here.

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