Suppose we have users and operators. Some users are assigned to certain operators. What should I call a procedure of removing an assignment, so an operator no longer works with a user or group of users? What are some antonyms for assign?

9 Answers 9


What about "dissociate" or "deallocate"?

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    Wouldn't it be more associate/dissociate, allocate/deallocate?
    – cdmckay
    Dec 3, 2014 at 2:36
  • I vote for unassigning! Language is flexible :)
    – User
    Jul 22, 2021 at 16:21

There is some question about whether it is a real word, but I have seen and occasionally used "deassign."

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    I also saw 'unassign', but it doesn't sound well. Feb 28, 2012 at 10:15
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    I agree, unassign doesn't sound quite right. A variable can be unassigned, but I don't think this should be used as an active verb. Feb 28, 2012 at 13:01

If you "assign" users to an operator, you may "remove" users from the operator.

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    It's opposite, operators are being assigned to groups of users. So if i can 'assign operator to group', then i can't say that i'm 'removing operator from group' because group consists of users, not operators. Feb 28, 2012 at 10:16

Divest comes to my mind:

(transitive) To strip, deprive, or dispossess (someone) of something (such as a right, passion, privilege, or prejudice).

You shall never divest me of my right to free speech.

So if the original procedure is:

Assign users to an operator.

The antonym is:

Divest an operator of users.

  • 3
    Wikitionary says it's an archaic word. I think many of my colleagues don't have it in their vocabulary, I also hear it for the first time. Is there a more widespread word? Feb 28, 2012 at 8:50
  • 2
    It's archaic for the meaning of "undress", not for the meaning we're talking about here.
    – Frantisek
    Feb 28, 2012 at 8:57
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    @RiMMER You completely missed the point. Nobody knows what the word divest means, and nobody uses it, so it is a poor choice even if you think it's *technically* correct.
    – BadHorsie
    Jul 23, 2019 at 11:03

You can revoke a task that has been allocated to someone

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    Maybe i'm just carping, but revoke is more of use with privilegies. And i have a group of users being supported by operator. Feb 28, 2012 at 8:56

How about "dismiss" ? one of the word's definitions is - "discharge from employment or office" which fits quite perfectly as far as I can see. "assign a doctor" / "dismiss doctor" at least one more option to the mentioned above )))


Consider using absign.

Why? Due to the morphology of assign:

Middle English, from Anglo-French assigner, from Latin assignare, from ad- + signare to mark, from signum mark, sign

The opposite of "ad" in Latin is "ab", and it's used in words such as "abstain", "absolve", "abdicate" etc. in English. So, replacing "ad" with "ab" gets you "absign".

Why not? I've not heard anybody else use it.

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    Well, morphology of a word is not exactly a well-known thing. Especially for non-native speakers whose primary interest is English, not Latin or any other related language. A fact that you didn't hear anyone using it means it's not common for average person's active vocabulary. In my case I had to find a well-known word since it was intended for use in software code. A good code should be self-describing. It won't be if a person reading will have to look refer to a dictionary to understand function's name. May 22, 2018 at 12:52
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    And "absign" is not in any of my dictionaries. Aug 7, 2019 at 17:14

If the user is moved to a different operator, I would go for "reassigned", which carries the proper connotations, I feel.

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    No, it's just link between them being removed Feb 28, 2012 at 8:26

Resign is a proper answer to your question.

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    No, it is not. I assign someone else the task. I don't resign someone else the task.
    – Luke_0
    Nov 14, 2012 at 15:06

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