What is the opposite of "Expiring Soon". I want to sort a list based on these two options based on the expiry date.

For example, say you've rented some films on your set top box and you're looking at the list of them. I want to show the options:

Sort by

  • expiring soon
  • expiring ???
  • 4
    The true opposite is "lasting forever". Jun 25, 2012 at 12:16
  • 13
    Can't you just say "expiration date ascending" and "expiration date descending"? Jun 25, 2012 at 12:17
  • 4
    To figure out the best term, I think you should examine your use-case. Why would a user want to see the items whose expiration-dates are furthest in the future? What are they really looking for? Once you know that, you can come up with an intuitive name that will make sense to the user who needs it.
    – ruakh
    Jun 25, 2012 at 12:36
  • 1
    STB? Strange Tabernacle Box? Jun 25, 2012 at 12:46
  • 4
    Not every phrase has an exact opposite.
    – user10893
    Jun 25, 2012 at 12:57

5 Answers 5


For your example of sorting a user interface, I would use superlatives:

  • expiring soonest
  • expiring latest

It's difficult to find an opposite for soon that is useful because it's not specific enough. Using superlatives, in this case, tell us that we're looking at the dates in question, not some subjective notion of what soon means.


"Sort by: Expiring soon" sounds like a Boolean. I think that to express what you actually want to do you should look at terms like

Sort by:

  • Expiring soonest first
  • Expiring latest first
  • I agree with this in principle, but I'd probably write it out as "Sort by: Expiration (soonest first)". Jul 22, 2015 at 18:17

Considering your use case, a user interface, I would have a input titled "Expires", and offer two sort options: "Sooner", and "Later".


Sort by

"Sort by expiration date".

I want to show the options: Sort by expiring soon

I'd say this is a bad gui design.

Put data into table (multi-column), add header to the table, allow user to sort data by clicking column's header, indicate sort direction using arrows or unicode "triangle" symbol (pointing up/down). This is a fairly standard behavior.

  • That's a fairly standard behavior on web-pages (which a user typically interacts with via a mouse), but I don't think it's very common in STB applications (which a user typically interacts with via a remote control). STB applications are getting richer every year, and your advice will probably be good advice someday (assuming digital cable is still around by then), but right now I'm not sure it's really practical.
    – ruakh
    Jun 25, 2012 at 20:52

In the case of food items, "shelf-stable" and "perishable" are the two relevant antonyms.

If you're categorizing stuff for storage, you might be more quantitative, and call your categories "expiring within 7 days" and "expiry 8 days or beyond", adjusting the numbers to suit your purpose. Never mind how you phrase the category names, "soon" is going to be ambiguous.

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