Perhaps this word doesn't exist. I'm looking for the word to describe the last final thing you want to put in a container but it won't fit. There is always one of those. You have ten items but always only nine will fit into the container you have. Often occurs with a toolbox which has one too many tools to go into it.

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    It's not clear what you're asking for. You asking for a "word for one too many items" appears to be asking for a noun, while you then asking for a "word to describe the last thing you want to put in a container but won't fit" appears to be asking for an adjective. Then there's the fact that whether it's an adjective or a noun you seek, "one too many" and "one more than will fit" are two different definitions, so you have to clarify which of those you want. Apr 30, 2021 at 21:21
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    The straw that broke the camel’s back; a faggot above a load.
    – Xanne
    Apr 30, 2021 at 21:31
  • "Leftover" might work. It's usually used for uneaten prepared food like cold cuts off a joint of meat but it could describe items like the ones you mention. You might get a situation like "I took out the drill so that I could get all the spanners and screwdrivers into the box, now the drill is the only leftover item."
    – BoldBen
    May 1, 2021 at 5:54
  • Similar to Xanne's options: the last drop (that makes the cup run over)
    – Joachim
    May 1, 2021 at 9:21
  • If it's a toolbox, I'd say "the odd one out" — because not only is it surplus, but it also must not belong to that set. Still thinking about whether there's a more general term. May 2, 2021 at 4:17

7 Answers 7


How about excess? The OED gives as one example of its usage:

excess luggage: luggage over the weight for which a passenger is allowed free carriage.

The meanings are broader than what you are looking for but I think the meaning you want is one of the meanings of excess.

  • Excess works for "too many items" but it's not specific enough for "one too many". Jun 8, 2021 at 16:04

In my family, although I'm not sure when it first originated, we've always used the term square peg. Such as:

Figures, get the suitcase basically done and last thing ended up being a square peg.

It just comes from the old thing of a square peg trying to fit into a round hole in the children's block game. Can't force it through the circle slot no matter how much you want it to fit in. I am aware this is a pretty silly way of using the old idiom loosely, but for some reason it always really just felt like the perfect thing to say ever since I first heard my Grandfather use it when I was a child.

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    Hello, Brandon. Nice idea, nice anecdote ... but not an established usage. May 22, 2021 at 16:44

You could use a maths style phrase like ...

My toolbox holds N items, but I always seem to have “N + 1” items.

Pronounce like “n plus one”.

... the (N + 1)th item ends up in my back pocket.

Pronounce like “n plus oneth item”


I believe superfluous would work quite well, as in:

After my toolbox is full, I never quite know what to do with the superfluous hammer.

EDIT: Perhaps poetically, such an item might be referred to as "vestigial" in the sense of "pertaining to a vestige or remnant."

  • This implies that an object is unneeded or not useful rather than excessive or ample. May 31, 2021 at 4:41
  • In my example, the hammer is certainly not needed nor useful for filling the toolbox. ;-)
    – RobJarvis
    Jun 1, 2021 at 13:36

Perhaps a little too formal, but supernumerary fits the bill:

Something which is beyond the prescribed or standard amount or number.


Maybe remnant

a usually small part, member, or trace remaining

or remainder

a: a remaining group, part, or trace
b: (1) the number left after a subtraction (2): the final undivided part after division that is less or of lower degree than the divisor

  • A remnant might be an off-cut due to aesthetics or function - it may well fit if stuffed into the container that holds the rest.
    – Lawrence
    May 1, 2021 at 5:01

Postultimate! Post-ultimate?

The postultimate Cheeto bulged from the top of the Tupperware container.

  • Hi, Dellevue. We're not in the business of suggesting neologisms. Please cite established uses. Please take time to complete the tour and learn more about our mission. :)
    – Davo
    May 6, 2021 at 17:17

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