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I'm trying to translate terms used in a database to terms used by end-users. There is a supplies table which holds information on supplies held in stock. Supplies is generic on purpose, as there is no one specific category or type. Each record details a single item/thing held and what it is, how much is in stock, etc.

I refer to supplies as 'supplies' for the end-user, but I'm struggling with the singular form.

  • I've tried 'supply' but it doesn't seem to fit, e.g. "add a supply" and "edit a supply" doesn't sound right.
  • The word 'item' doesn't mean much without context and using that in actions also feels awkward, e.g. "add an item" – an item of what, add to where?

Should I stick with 'supply', or is there a better term?

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    I suspect you're going to end up with qualifying "item": supply item, stock item, inventory item, etc. Of course, there is the term good (as in goods), but that's likely to be even less well-received. Someone may know of a better term.
    – Andrew Leach
    Jun 24, 2020 at 12:34
  • "Add a supply" is wrong, as you suspect. A supply is a source of supplies, not an item in the supply. For instance, "Their supply of [ammunition | food | beer] was dwindling alarmingly."
    – TonyK
    Jun 24, 2020 at 12:38
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    An item is clearly the right word. Everybody who speaks English knows it. You say "add an item" – an item of what, add to where?", Well surely that is precisely what the documentation is supposed to tell the user. If it doesn't then it is not good documentation. Jun 24, 2020 at 12:43
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    Sometimes "New entry" is used. Jun 24, 2020 at 13:03
  • Singular good is another possibility, used in fields like economics, but is likely to confuse the general user. Problem is you seem to want terms familiar to end-users rather than people experienced with stock control, and the layperson will probably say "thing" or "item" or even "thingumajig".
    – Stuart F
    Jun 21, 2022 at 9:00

2 Answers 2

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Inventory item or inventory entry should serve you well. I am partial to the former.

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If each record has a quantity in stock, your record granularity appears to be at the level of Stock Keeping Unit or SKU, a very common jargon term in the warehouse and retail domains.

The action would be "Add a SKU"

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