I was just writing a guide on how to do a portion of my work at work and noticed that I did not know of a word that would describe the same outcome originating from a set of opposite causes.

The example I was working on was that if you had to check a large number of small items this will take time as while the boxes are easy to maneuver you will still have to go through a lot of them. Still if you have a small amount of large boxes this will take a lot of time as you have to spend time moving them around even if it takes less time to check them.

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    It's six of one and half a dozen of the other is an informal way to say "It doesn't make any difference which way you do it". We British also say It's swings and roundabouts. This refers to playground rides; I suppose it means that it doesn't matter which one you choose. Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 12:06
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    'Convergence' is related, convergent evolution meaning the development of the same (or very similar) 'end products' (architectural styles, philosophies, butterflies ...) from different strating points and obviously along different paths. Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 12:50
  • I am not sure I understand your question. What are you checking? Are the 'items' small boxes each containing (one of) the items you are checking? So you are opening each small box to check? Or what are we taking about? How are the big boxes supposed to help?
    – Tuffy
    Commented Feb 9, 2022 at 0:48

1 Answer 1


I have only ever seen this expressed as having "equivalent outcomes". Nevertheless, apparently the word "equifinal" exists to describe exactly what you describe, although I have never seen it in the wild.


Definition of equifinal : having the same effect or outcome from initially different events


Equifinality is the principle that in open systems a given end state can be reached by many potential means. Also meaning that a goal can be reached by many ways. The term and concept is due to Hans Driesch, the developmental biologist, later applied by Ludwig von Bertalanffy, the founder of general systems theory, and by William T. Powers, the founder of perceptual control theory. Driesch and von Bertalanffy prefer this term, in contrast to "goal", in describing complex systems' similar or convergent behavior. Powers simply emphasised the flexibility of response, since it emphasizes that the same end state may be achieved via many different paths or trajectories.

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