I'm looking for a general word. A few examples to help illustrate:

  • If a class has 10 spots and 4 people have registered, the class' ____ is 4.
  • If you're filling up a container of unknown capacity and it takes a while and someone asks on your progress, they may inquire about the container's current ____.
  • If a battery or capacitor is 50% charged, its ____ is half.
  • If a progress meter or a loading indicator hasn't progressed very far, its ____ is low.

The closest I've come up with is "fullness" (or "level" in the container example, though that's usually used along with a reference to the thing filling the container, as in "water level" or "the level of the dirt"). But those don't seem quite right. I think something more generic that could be used in these and other similar cases is what I'm after - any place you have a total and you're after the current amount filled, whether or not the total or the current amount are specific numbers or general amounts (like nearly empty or nearly full).

A closely related word to content might be proportion. But this doesn't capture the specific emphasis on "how close to complete fullness" I'm after, although it does speak to the relation of the part to the whole, which is an essential element.

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    I'd guess that this is a lexical gap. The usual questions would be "How many people have registered so far?" / "What's the take-up like?" // "How full is it?" Commented Oct 1, 2019 at 16:04
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    @Cascabel the word capacity came to mind, but I feel that can mean "how many/much can it hold total" and so could be ambiguous. As in "full to capacity". Commented Oct 1, 2019 at 16:10
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    @EdwinAshworth It may be a lexical problem. However, if such a word does exist, I don't know that the questions you mentioned would be any more or less usual (unless the word is a rarely used one). But if the word exists, I don't see any lexical gap in inserting it into the questions in the OP. If such a word doesn't exist, it should :) Commented Oct 3, 2019 at 23:14
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    Well, as you say, the word will be different depending on what you're filling. For something like a container it can be level, filling height, filling level, depth of fill, depth of filling, filling depth, height of fill, height of filling, or whatever. For a school class it could be something completely different like attendance. The more stuff of different nature you're trying to find a hypernym for, the less specific that hypernym has to become. The only hypernym that covers all stuff is, well, stuff.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Oct 3, 2019 at 23:26
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    I would go with "amount."
    – Steve
    Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 19:00

3 Answers 3


How about extent?

The extent of the class is four students.

The extent of the container's contents is halfway.

The extent of the battery's charge is halfway.

The extent of the progress is low.

  • I think both "extent" and "volume" could fit all four sentences. Commented Dec 21, 2021 at 0:10

These are two different things and need two different answers.

A class's number of students is its enrollment. This is the number of students entered into its rolls or class list.

The fluid contained in a container is the volume of its contents. That is, the amount of space taken by its contents within the container.

Volume holds validity for the contents of many items. You could say volume of the class. But this would be a bit strange.

Of course, the most generic term would be contents. As this would apply to that which was contained in any capacity.

  • 1
    Volume sounds like the total capacity, where what I'm after is how full it currently is (out of the total). Enrollment is correct for a class, but I'm after a general term. The class and container were only a couple of examples where the desired word could be applied. Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 18:33
  • @jinglesthula Volume is a measure in general of the amount of something. You're speaking of the volume capacity of the container. A 100ml beaker with 50ml of water still contains a volume of 50ml of water.
    – David M
    Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 18:36
  • true. I was conflating the volume of the contents with that of the container. What I'm after would be a property of the container rather than of the contents. In the container example, it would be "the container's ___" rather than "the ___ of the contents" (volume). The volume of the contents (say, water) would be the same whether it was in a container whose volume was equal to or double the volume of the water; but in these cases the ____ of the containers would be very different (100% vs 50%, or full vs half-full). I clarified the title to indicate I'm after a general term. Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 18:50
  • @jinglesthula see my edit.
    – David M
    Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 18:56
  • apportionment?? It's unusual but I dare say in every blank @jingesthula has provided it could be correctly inserted. Maybe allotment would sound more acceptable, for modern usage. But I felt apportionment much more generally usable, even though it may be uncommonly leveraged to the full extent of which it could be... "Various volumes of the contents were then apportioned into different containers. Each having its own apportionment." Commented Oct 16, 2021 at 18:27

load or fill can be used that way. It's an example of the common usage of interchanging verbs and subjects of their actions. One loads a load and fills with a fill.

Because one fills a container with liquid, the container's fill is (for example) half.

  • don't you think you're more re-phrasing than Answering the Question? Commented Oct 24, 2021 at 19:09
  • @RobbieGoodwin I can see how this answer can be taken that way. It's not a very satisfying answer. It does make one wish for a better word to describe the concept. But, at least technically, it's still an answer. These two words can be used to name the property in question.
    – grovkin
    Commented Oct 24, 2021 at 22:49
  • Thanks and it took that extra debate to show me, for one, what you actually meant. Would it be too much to ask you to Edit the Posted Answer, at least re-phrasing and perhaps simply dropping "It's an example of the common usage of interchanging verbs and subjects of their actions. One loads a load and fills with a fill…"? Commented Oct 25, 2021 at 18:16

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