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Is there a word that could fill in the blank of this sentence I'm trying to write?

Another way to broaden possible adoption and impact is to work on problems or solutions that cross the boundaries of unaligned or competing theories and methods by operating at a different level, by transcending or ________ing them.

I just want to suggest the idea of scientific work happening at hierarchical levels of abstraction, and that you can avoid problems on level D either by hopping up to level C or down to level E.

I better get back to actually writing now, but if anyone can think of a word to fit in there, I'd love to know it. I got nowhere with online thesauri.

Thanks!

Oh --- a different pair that suggested the same contrast would be good, too.

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    The whole sentence makes little sense. You don't cross boundaries by transcending them. That's saying the same thing twice. Thrice, actually, since there's also the different levels. And now you are looking for a fourth way to say it. That's a tad much, innit. The sentence has long transcended all boundaries and crossed all levels and reached the point where we can stop adding words and start removing them. Remove half of what you have. Then remove half of what's left.
    – RegDwigнt
    Aug 5, 2020 at 10:58
  • I'm not convinced this is a context where it's particularly appropriate to speak approvingly of the "opposite" of metaphoric "transcendence" (normally seen as up = heaven = good, by which token down = hell = bad). But if we allow that those "boundaries" are a kind of metaphoric constraining fence, I suppose you could go under as well as over. Consider alternatives such as subvert, undercut, bypass. Aug 5, 2020 at 10:59
  • Thanks! @RegDwigнt, I won't argue that it's not a terrible sentence. But the idea is sort of to inhabit both or all sides of the fence. And I would have been fine with transcend sufficing for both up and down, except my solution is more in the downward direction, which is why I'm calling attention to it.
    – Sigfried
    Aug 5, 2020 at 11:27
  • @FumbleFingers: Thanks! I was thinking subtend sounded like what I wanted, but the actual meaning is wrong. I wanted like an image of descending from the molecular level to the basement where the beautiful atoms live.
    – Sigfried
    Aug 5, 2020 at 11:28
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    transcend, ascend and descend. Not sure that collocation works at all here..by moving them up or down in terms of priority.
    – Lambie
    Aug 5, 2020 at 16:01

2 Answers 2

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Subsume is the word.

I'm with @RegDwigнt on how bad this sentence is, or is trying to be. However I cannot resist a challenge.

The word you are looking for is Subsume, (not far from subtend). While transcend means to rise above and away from, subsume means to take on or integrate the item with itself. Quite the other end of the scale.

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  • That's the word! Thank you! Oh, wait, I somehow missed your middle paragraph on my first read through. Guess I'll have to take back the upvote and answer selection now. :)
    – Sigfried
    Aug 5, 2020 at 22:25
  • Once you have written it, it cannot be undone, no matter how much you would prefer it. Glad to help.
    – Elliot
    Aug 6, 2020 at 3:05
  • I'm not quite sure that subsume works in the way the question is framed. If A subsumes B then it takes it into itself and makes it part of itself, if A transcends B then it goes above it. In both those cases A is, "higher" than B whereas I read the request as asking for a word which means that A goes "lower" than B and does not incorporate it. The owner of a block of flats might "transcend" the top floor flat by adding a penthouse, he might then "subsume" the former top floor into the penthouse. However the city metro might cut a tunnel under the block. That tunnel does not subsume the flats.
    – BoldBen
    Aug 6, 2020 at 7:31
  • @BoldBen I see your point. The one who wrote the question has told us this is the word so no changes need to be made.
    – Elliot
    Aug 6, 2020 at 14:13
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How about absorb? From M-W:

absorb: to take in and make part of an existent whole

Your example sentence:

Another way to broaden possible adoption and impact is to work on problems or solutions that cross the boundaries of unaligned or competing theories and methods by operating at a different level, by transcending or absorbing them.

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