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Is there a term to refer to everything in a collection except some named thing(s); that is, to mean 'all the rest' in that collection?

Examples

Suppose you read:

Ukraine downed 22 of Russia's fixed-wing aircraft

And you want to know if 22 represents all the aircraft downed, to answer that, you wish to work out if 'fixed-wing' represents all Russian aircraft, or if there are aircraft that aren't 'fixed-wing' that need to be added to the 22 fixed-wing craft to get the total. Your first thought may be: 'what is the supplemental to fixed-wing aircraft?' (i.e. are there any aircraft which aren't fixed-wing, and if so, what are they).

Another example:

Suppose you read:

Lithium batteries may not be sent via post.

If you're not sure whether the battery you want to send is a 'Lithium' battery, you may wish to first find out what the supplemental to Lithium batteries is? (i.e. what are the other kinds of batteries, so you can research them and determine if the one you have belongs to one of those subsets).

What I already know

Words I use are

  • Supplemental
  • Inverse

Are there any better words to use to describe 'all the others' of a certain group or collection?

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  • "The 'sum total' of a number of things is all the things added or considered together." You would want to know the 'sum total' of all downed aircraft, whether fixed-wing or other types. Or the 'sum total' of casualties - not just ones ones who were in tanks (for instance).
    – tblue
    Mar 15, 2022 at 10:34
  • You might infer that Russia has remaining fixed-wing aircraft. Compare your sentence with "Ukraine downed all 22 of Russia's fixed-wing aircraft." Remaining aircraft could be fixed wing, rotary wing, or both.
    – DjinTonic
    Mar 15, 2022 at 11:57

3 Answers 3

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  • Ukraine downed 22 of Russia's fixed-wing aircraft

The use of a modifier (fixed-wing) implies that there are aircraft that are not fixed-wing. In this case the “other” aircraft are (at least primarily) helicopters.

Use of a modifier (edible mushrooms, off-road vehicles, underage patrons) divides the category, or set, into two parts, one of which has the feature and the other that doesn’t. There’s always the possibility that there are some we don’t know about, though.

Note, however, that the context here limits the aircraft under consideration to those involved in the Ukraine theater of war.

Also note that there are always other ways to categorize a group of objects or people--e.g., aircraft that show up on radar and those that don’t, aircraft that are air-worthy and those that aren’t.

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  • +1. Your answer explains my question so much more elegantly than I did. However I fear it doesn’t give an answer, as in, is there a particular word or term we can use to refer to those ‘others’? (I included ‘supplemental’ or in some cases ‘inverse’, but I don’t know if there are any other terms/words/phrases to describe the ‘others’ in a group?)
    – stevec
    Mar 15, 2022 at 5:41
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    The formal word in set theory is “complement.”
    – Xanne
    Mar 15, 2022 at 6:20
  • 1
    complement would be perfect, if only the general populace knew set theory! (admittedly, I also had to look it up)
    – stevec
    Mar 20, 2022 at 22:59
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    Do you know if there's any way to disambiguate complement from its other meanings when using it in a sentence? So that the listener/reader can be sure they know you're talking about complement in relation to set theory (and they can therefore look it up if they weren't sure of its meaning)?
    – stevec
    Mar 20, 2022 at 23:01
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Suppose you read:

Ukraine downed 22 of Russia's fixed-wing aircraft

And you want to know if 22 represents all the aircraft downed, to answer that, you wish to work out if 'fixed-wing' represents all Russian aircraft

You don’t: the adjective is partitive.

Your first thought may be: 'what is the supplemental to fixed-wing aircraft?' (i.e. are there any aircraft which aren't fixed-wing, and if so, what are they).

My first thought would be “What are the rest/the others/ the remainder?”

Suppose you read:

Lithium batteries may not be sent via post.

If you're not sure whether the battery you want to send is a 'Lithium' battery, you may wish to first find out what the supplemental to Lithium batteries is?

No. You want to find out what the rest/the others/the remainder are.

Another way of approaching this is to convert the aircraft into two categories “fixed-wing” and “non-fixed-wing” and the batteries into “lithium” and “non-lithium” and hence “adjective” and “non-adjective.”

If you wish to ask about a general term for the “non-X” part, then you need to rephrase/re-ask your question.

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  • +1 remainder is a humble but very useful term. you need to rephrase/re-ask your question - yes, but I want to avoid this by using more precise language.
    – stevec
    Apr 5, 2022 at 23:11
  • If you have 10 apples and I steal three. You are left with the remainder, i.e. 7. There is nothing more precise than that. :)
    – Greybeard
    Apr 5, 2022 at 23:28
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In set theory a complement is everything but the item(s) in question. This wikipedia diagram conveys it well:

enter image description here

Examples

To articulate all aircraft other than fixed-wing aircraft, you could say: "the complement to fixed-wing aircraft", or "fixed-wing aircraft's complement in the set of all aircraft"

To talk about all batteries which aren't lithium batteries, you could say "the complement to lithium batteries"

Another random example of real world usage:

Australian courts approve the prevailing social consensus, and disapprove it's complement.

References

2
  • "disapprove it's complement." *its. And "complement" is not a good term. "complement: a number or quantity of something, especially that required to make a group complete. "at the moment we have a full complement of staff"". A complement of aircraft is a group of aircraft. Apr 6, 2022 at 4:23
  • @Acccumulation regarding complement it’s referring to the meaning in set theory, which isn’t widely known (which is annoying, because it’s the most precise term imo). See comments on Xanne’s answer. I hope to find a way to indicate complement’s usage in the context of set theory
    – stevec
    Apr 6, 2022 at 4:26

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