What is a word to describe a file that has not been compressed? Un-Compressed implies that it was compressed and has since been inflated.

I compressed my file. I needed to see what was in it, so I {inflated|uncompressed} it.
I have a ton of files that have never been compressed. These are my _______ files.
Turns out the man page isn't consistent either. :)

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – tchrist
    Aug 23, 2020 at 20:37

3 Answers 3


As @Jim suggests, original file would fit your needs best.

Which implies that it has not been altered in any way, including lossy or lossless compression.

adj. present or existing from the beginning


  • Interesting.... Never considered that word.
    – Scottie H
    Aug 6, 2020 at 22:44
  • 1
    @ScottieH As I said in a comment under the question, this word could easily misrepresent your intention. An "original" file means one that has never been changed in any way at all. It would mean never edited, for one thing. If all you care about is the lack of compression, but you want to allow for it to have been edited, then original is the wrong choice. Aug 6, 2020 at 23:27
  • Yes, it 'could'. Unfortunately, I work with a lot of ambiguity. I want to reduce some of that by specificity. In this particular scenario, there should NOT be any uncompressed files. If such a thing exists, there is a problem. Thus, I want to avoid the impression that this is a normal condition.
    – Scottie H
    Aug 7, 2020 at 0:17
  • 'My original files' means the ones I had at first; they could have been compressed when I got them. Aug 7, 2020 at 17:55

I think you have to remember what the prefixes mean. Checking with online dictionaries reveals that the prefix un- basically means not. So uncompressed doesn't necessarily imply that it has been compressed before. It just means that it's simply not compressed.

De- however signifies removal or reversal, and so decompressed does imply that a file was once compressed.


For image files specifically, a raw file is one that has had as little processing as possible since being captured by a camera's sensor. There are a lot of different raw formats for image files, they're often specific to a given brand or model of camera.

Often you need to use special settings on a digital camera to get access to raw image files. Most cameras will, by default, apply some low-level processing before exporting images in a format more easily viewable and editable, while raw images are only useful for specialists.

Compression is one form of processing, though lossless compression (that you can reverse without losing any data) isn't usually something to be concerned about. On the other hand, lossy compression is a very destructive kind of processing, as it introduces artifacts into the image that you can't easily get rid of. Repeatedly compressing and decompressing an image with a lossy algorithm (like the one used for .jpeg files) will rapidly destroy its quality.

There's not really an equivalent for most other kinds of files on a computer (except maybe audio or video, which can use similar lossy compression methods). Copying a generic file or compressing and uncompressing it using a lossless algorithm doesn't generally change the file in any notable way, so it's not a thing that needs special jargon. Maybe you'd lose some metadata (like the date the file was created), but often not even that.

So in general, there is no specific word for the situation you are asking for. If you hope that your reader will understand and be able to recognize a distinction between an uncompressed and a decompressed file, you're very likely to be disappointed. Most computer savvy people will expect those words to be synonymous. Even if you use an unambiguous compound adjective like never compressed, many readers will be perplexed about why you think that is significant.

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