I am writing a repair manual for an electronic device and I am looking for a specific word to refer to the outer part of any electronic device such as a laptop/phone/camera/TV/radio... This "housing" is usually made of plastic or metal and is the part that the user touches when holding the device.

I was thinking that some options could be "housing"/"case"/"casing"/"enclosure"/"shell"/"box". What is the correct word? I am not sure about some of these as they could be used to refer to the "case" of the device itself or to a "case" that you can add on top of the device for protection/aesthetics. I am looking for a word that specifically refers to the "case" of the device itself.

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    Chassis - merriam-webster.com/dictionary/chassis
    – user 66974
    Feb 19, 2020 at 16:29
  • "body" is another possibility, although it is another word with multiple meanings. If you can restrict it to a specific device that might help: terminology will vary between different devices, e.g. with a camera, "body" can mean the core part minus the removable lens and external flash and other accessories, but with phones you often see "metal bodied" or "plastic bodied" as descriptors referring to the outer part. "Case" likewise: with something like a TV it's clear, but with a camera ambiguous.
    – Stuart F
    Feb 19, 2020 at 16:37
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    "Case" would probably be the most generic term. ("Chassis" is the framework that components are attached to, often housed within a "case".)
    – Hot Licks
    Feb 19, 2020 at 17:09
  • You've listed six words, and the previous commenters have suggested many of the same words. What did the dictionary tell you? We can't decide the right word for you when there are multiple correct choices. It's your decision.
    – CJ Dennis
    Feb 19, 2020 at 23:42

2 Answers 2


The cases for desktop computers are often called "towers". Cabinets house larger computers.

The generic name is "cases" from what I have seen.


This site distinguishes between various types of "towers".

  • "Tower" is a description of a particular type of base unit, specifically one whose height is greater that its width or depth. The computer can be described as being "housed in a tower case" but that distinguishes the style of case from the "desktop" case or any other style which may be offered. The outer part of the computer, which holds the components together and protects them from damage is, almost universally, the "case". In fact the outer part of a laptop or tablet is usually called the "case" as well.
    – BoldBen
    Mar 22, 2020 at 1:50

Case and Chassis are used pretty often as some of the comments indicate. Other similar words are tower, system unit and cabinet. Also, holder is often used for additional external casing especially on smaller devices like smartphones and tablets.

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