What noun describes the quality of being the first version of a message or document, versus an updated version?

A sample sentence:

What is the xyz of this message?

The closest I can think of is 'originality' or 'novelty', but they don't sound quite right.


To add more detail as requested, the word I am looking for does not refer to the authenticity/veracity of the document. Assume that we have multiple versions of a document, all of which can be from the same author. The word I am looking describes a predicate that will be true for the initial version of the document (and for identical copies), and false for all others.

  • 2
    Authenticity? Provenance? Is the sense of your sample sentence in context precisely equivalent to Is this the original? Are you asking about an actual physical thing? Commented Oct 28, 2022 at 10:20
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    "What is the version of this message?"
    – Stuart F
    Commented Oct 28, 2022 at 14:56
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    Instead of What is the version?, just ask Is this the first version? It's no good asking whether it's the original in OP's somewhat unusual context, because you might get the misleading / contextually worthless answer No if what's being asked about is an exact copy of the original. I'm assuming that so far as OP is concerned, unless the actual text is altered, he needs the answer to be Yes even if what's being queried is in fact a "copy" (so long as it's indistinguishable from the original). The crucial concept here appears to be fungibility. Commented Oct 28, 2022 at 16:58
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    What's wrong with first message and updated message?
    – Lambie
    Commented Oct 28, 2022 at 20:50
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    Are you sure about why you need an answer to this question? There is only one thing people are likely to want to know: is this version in front of me the CURRENT version? You might for some reason want to see the 'first' or 'original' version (to see how it has changed), but otherwise, all you would normally need would be the 'current' version, whether it is the first, fifth or twelfth.
    – Tuffy
    Commented Oct 28, 2022 at 20:59

3 Answers 3



From Wordsense

Not modded. 

It would include your original and exact duplicates, but not modified items even if it were the original or exact duplicate

  • interesting word, but it's not a noun :)
    – mitchus
    Commented Nov 30, 2022 at 16:55

OP's requested context is...

What is the XYZ of this message?

...where what the speaker wants to know is whether the message either the original (unaltered) document or a faithful reproduction thereof (which is still "the first version).

I don't think any version of the proposed construction would clearly invite a short but precise response giving OP the information he seeks. I suggest the question to ask is something like...

Is this a faithful reproduction of the original message?

I suppose strictly speaking, if the "thing" being queried is in fact the original document, the answer could be a lot longer than just Yes. So to make sure OP gets all the information he needs from a simple Yes/No response, he might wish to ask...

Is this either the original document itself, or an accurate copy of the message it contained / contains?

...where if either of those conditions is true, the answer should be Yes (the message is the "unchanged original first version"); if neither condition is true, the answer should be No.

  • I think it's not so much "a faithful reproduction" as an updated or edited version. I.e., if the creation date and the last modified date are the same then it is the original version. but once the author sees and corrects a typo the message is now altered.
    – Jim
    Commented Oct 28, 2022 at 17:55
  • @Jim yes correct - sorry if my description was unclear.
    – mitchus
    Commented Oct 28, 2022 at 20:20
  • You might get a clue from "creation date and the last modified date", but you couldn't rely on either of those to tell you that the message text hadn't been changed. Bear in mind it makes no difference if the message was originally written on papyrus with a quill pen - it could still be the same "first message" printed on paper by a laser printer many centuries later, so long as the text is unchanged. Personally I think it should still be classed as "the same" even if some of the words had been changed from Chaucerian spelling to modern American spelling, but OP hasn't clarified that. Commented Oct 28, 2022 at 20:23
  • The OP wants a single-word noun to replace XYZ.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Oct 30, 2022 at 9:59
  • @Lawrence: Perhaps my answer isn't clear enough. I don't think any version of the proposed construction works with a single word replacing XYZ. Words like "authenticity" (and everything else in banuyayi's answer) are no use, because there could be dozens of "authentic" versions of the message as it's revised over time. And there is no single English word to reference the "revision status" of a message, specifically in order to distinguish the "original" version of the text from any subsequent revisions. Commented Oct 30, 2022 at 16:25

You can use ("initial message" or "first message") and ("later messages" or "subsequent messages") if you so not want to use "original message" and "updated messages", if you are talking about sms.

Words that can be used in the example sentence are given in bold below.

What is the xyz of this message?

Veracity (Wiktionary)

  1. (uncountable, of a person) The quality of speaking or stating the truth; truthfulness.

  2. (countable) Something that is true; a truthful statement; a truth.

  3. (uncountable) Agreement with the facts; accordance with the truth; accuracy or precision.

  4. Act of being exact and accurate.

Legitimacy (Wiktionary) The quality or state of being legitimate or valid; validity.

Certitude (Wiktionary)

  1. (uncountable) Sureness, certainty.

  2. (countable) Something that is a certainty.

Authenticity (Wiktionary) The quality of being genuine or not corrupted from the original, of having the same origin (or attribution, commitment, intention, etc.) as claimed.

Another word that can be used is "exactness" (The state of being exact. link:https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/exactness).

  • 2
    How do your suggestions fit into OP’s example sentence?
    – Jim
    Commented Oct 28, 2022 at 14:12

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