Is there a simple term for the question this one was closed as a dupe of other than "the question this one was closed as a dupe of", because "the question this one was closed as a dupe of" is pretty long and unwieldy and much in need of a simpler term than "the question this one was closed as a dupe of".

  • I asked Opposite/inverse of duplicate before finding this question; while mostly similar, it has a few thoughts and words this post doesn't (this one as well has some mine doesn't).
    – zpletan
    Commented Apr 25, 2012 at 1:50
  • Will you only accept a single word? If not please re-tag your question. Commented Oct 4, 2012 at 5:43
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    @hippietrail: Duplicated is a good word for what I was looking for, and though you'd normally use it in conjunction with the and question, I still feel like it's one word. But by all means, feel free to retag if you disagree. By your rep here, you seem to be a regular, while I'm just a newbie who poked his head in to ask one question.
    – sbi
    Commented Oct 4, 2012 at 8:56
  • @sbi: I think I'm only semi-regular here at best. (-: Commented Oct 4, 2012 at 9:27

5 Answers 5


It's not a single word, but the duplicated question seems like an obvious answer.

  • 2
    Oh, why is it that I didn't think of something so obvious?
    – sbi
    Commented Feb 15, 2012 at 13:36
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    He used Dupe.... so.... "the dupee" is the shortest version I can think of. WARN:NARW(not a real word) Commented Feb 15, 2012 at 14:43
  • 2
    @Xaade: Your comment would be an order of magnitude better if your acronym were "not really a word." Commented Feb 15, 2012 at 22:34

In the context of SE questions there's often a certain amount of debate over whether the later question is identical to the one cited as a duplicate, so I tend to avoid the term original.

Admittedly this approach deprives me of a convenient noun form, but I think it's less contentious to refer to it as the earlier question. But if you really want a noun I suggest antecedent.

Ideally on SE one would like to refer to the earlier question as the archetype, to imply we've already got a generic/canonical answer for any questions similar to the one currently being flagged as a later duplicate. Sadly, that isn't always the case, so people can often argue theirs isn't a duplicate.

  • Well, "earlier question" is a bit vague, but it seems to fit. (BTW, I'm not really after a single word, I just couldn't find a better tag and using only terminology seemed incorrect to me.)
    – sbi
    Commented Feb 15, 2012 at 13:42
  • Go for antecedent then (or if you've got sufficient confidence in the earlier answers to cover everything in any related later questions, go ahead and call them the archetypes :) Commented Feb 15, 2012 at 13:47

In programming, I've sometimes heard original used as a relative term, as in "the original of the new bug is a year old." Perhaps this extends to online Q&A discussions.

Since each question is closed as a duplicate of exactly one, the relationship is unique and you can probably refer to it in context as simply the duplicate, even if that's somewhat backwards.

  • Actually, when different "originals" are proposed by different close-voters, questions can be closed as dupes of several others.
    – sbi
    Commented Feb 15, 2012 at 13:27
  • @sbi: Oh, I thought the software always chose just one, perhaps arbitrarily. Commented Feb 15, 2012 at 13:36
  • See here for an example.
    – sbi
    Commented Feb 16, 2012 at 10:38

The notion of duplication and redundancy are very often justified in prose, but I agree that a pithy term is ideal here. Specifically, we want a noun describing "that which is immediately deprecated because it contains a strict subset of another preceding [concept or idea]."

Picking through Everything2's lexicon on writeup deletion (a site based on the concepts of social karma and article deprecation far predating StackOverflow and StackExchange), their chosen phrasing for this case is, loosely speaking, when one's article is "superseded by an existing writeup."

This phrasing lacks precision, however. The transitive verb supersede strictly means (according to Merriam-Webster):

  1. a. to cause to be set aside
    b. to force out of use as inferior
  2. to take the place or position of
  3. to displace in favor of another

Its etymology (as addressed in this English.SE answer) is, tersely:

"super" (over) + "sedere" (to sit).

I say this "lacks precision" because the order of operations is reversed in the case of a question or writeup that is instantly deprecated by another, previous question or writeup. It isn't a case of the previous "forcing out" or "displacing" the new one as inferior (implying subsequent action), so much as the new duplicate is, in fact, deprecating itself by virtue of not deferring to the previous one.

A word suggestion I would put forth here is not supersede, then, but subsede. This isn't currently a word in the dictionary. But, by our prior understanding of Latin prefixes and verbs, this would etymologically mean:

"sub" (under) + "sedere" (to sit).

Or, literally, "sit under or undermine" the subsedee, as the subsedent or subsedent question.

But, I digress. The authoritative, original, or (bending the rules again) supersedent question should be expressively sufficient for your purposes when referring to the original authoritative source deprecating a now-unoriginal question or idea. I'd shy away from using the duplicated question only insofar as it's technically unclear, without additional context, which of the now-duplicate questions you're referring to.

  • Superseder is in active use: docs.python.org/devguide/triaging.html#superseder
    – MrGomez
    Commented Feb 29, 2012 at 22:03
  • This seems to assume that the new question is granted preferential status over the original question. On SE, the opposite is true: unless the older question is exceptionally bad, it's almost always the new question that is closed-as-duplicate, and the term the OP wants is for the older question.
    – Marthaª
    Commented Oct 22, 2012 at 21:09

Given that you seem to spend most of your time on programmers forums, they'll probably recognise the word deduplicate.

The term deduplication refers generally to eliminating duplicate or redundant information.

The Standard Repository of All Knowledge (a.k.a. Wikipedia).

So you could say:

deduplicated: link_to_dupe

But do be careful not to cause offense! ;-)

  • That's a nice term, but it refers to the process where I was looking for a term for the target of the process.
    – sbi
    Commented Feb 15, 2012 at 13:17

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