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I am writing some software that maintains a large data space, and we need to be able to tag areas that have never been touched/written to, and be able to request those areas.

When we request areas we can add flags to the request for what we want, and currently the flag I am using for getting any hasn't-been-used-yet area is "virginal" - but eventually this software will be used by a larger audience, so I'd rather avoid the connotations that are connected with "virginal".

Also, I don't want to use a "negative" word like "untouched" because I think the double-negative can be confusing if you, for example, request a region where "untouched = false"

I feel like there is a word that I'm just missing that is both positive and doesn't have connotations involving sexual purity, but I can't think of what it is.

Suggestions?

CLARIFICATIONS:

  1. I am clear that the word "unused" doesn't have sexual connotations. My problem with the word "unused" is that it's negative. Surprisingly the comments have shown that I wasn't clear on that.
  2. I'm now realizing, thanks to some of the great suggestions, that the main issue here is that I have three states that I'm distinguishing between instead of two, which is why suggestions like "clean/dirty" don't quite work. I'm not just looking at the state of used vs unused. The three states are "allocated" and "free/non-allocated" and then also, "free and has never been allocated" - the last one I am trying to define.
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    Anyone immediately associating 'unused' with sexual purity possibly needs therapy. Commented Oct 21, 2021 at 18:14
  • Unasssigned data storage space is unclaimed. Commented Oct 21, 2021 at 20:52
  • @EdwinAshworth - laugh... The problem with "unused" is that it's a negative with "un" - not that it has anything to do with sexual purity. Read the whole question. :) Commented Oct 22, 2021 at 22:20
  • Definitely stay away from unsullied. It ticks both boxes. :-)
    – DjinTonic
    Commented Oct 23, 2021 at 11:53
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    I think you have chosen the wrong adjective. The adjective "virginal" has strong associations with sexual virginity. Ironically, the adjective "virgin", as in virgin olive oil; virgin forest; virgin lands; virgin soil, etc., does not have a strong association at all.
    – Greybeard
    Commented Oct 23, 2021 at 17:22

4 Answers 4

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pristine (adj.)

In its original condition; unspoiled.

pristine copies of an early magazine

Immaculately clean and unused

handed her his pristine white handkerchief vocabulary.com


All the media used to store the findings must be pristine, previously unused media. Chey Cobb; Network Security For Dummies

Taking a hard disk from its pristine, newly manufactured state to a fully functional DOS or Windows 95 storage area ... Neil Randall; "Partitioning Your Hard Disks" in PC Magazine

Take a "clean slate" approach to ensure your new, pristine hard drive has a new, pristine copy of Windows on it, rather than a copied- over-and-funked-up Windows image from your old drive. Maximum PC, 2005, p.32

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I think you could use raw to describe areas and data:

Raw information has been collected but has not yet been studied in detail: raw data/evidence/figures (Cambridge)

not being in polished, finished, or processed form (M-W)

I see on computing sites that it is used for areas and locations.

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  • Raw is not bad, though usually in computers it has more to do with something that has yet to be "formatted" as opposed to "used" Commented Oct 23, 2021 at 22:28
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Good question!! In my experience in IT, we would often use the term “empty” to describe unused disk or data space with our clients in other departments.

Here is how “empty” has been used on Quora:

“… when a file is deleted or put in the recycle bin, [the file] is not deleted, but instead, the disk space is marked as empty …”

Sure, you’re not talking about file deletions as in that quote, but might “empty” work for your purpose? Best of luck with your project!

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  • Not a bad suggestion, but "empty" doesn't mean it's never been full. Commented Oct 23, 2021 at 22:27
  • Excellent point, David! The clients I mentioned working with didn’t need to know this distinction, but you’re spot on: “empty” won’t work for the OP’s intended use. Thank you so much!
    – Bystander
    Commented Oct 24, 2021 at 18:15
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For the three states you describe why not in use, used and clean?

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  • You should include some explanation/justification for these suggestions (as this answer has been flagged as low quality, presumably because of its brevity). Commented Oct 24, 2021 at 13:01

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