Why I'm asking summarizes what led me to post this question.
What I've found summarizes what I've found so far in looking at online dictionary definitions of "itemize" and similar words that start with "item".
What, precisely, I'm asking tries to nail down precisely what I'm asking.
Why I'm asking
If, in a computer programming language I know, one writes:
Basket-One = list loaf, cabbage, pineapple ; Basket-Two = list Basket-One ; Basket-Three = item Basket-One ;
then the result is that:
Basket-Onecontains three items;
Basket-Twocontains the same three items;
Basket-Threecontains one item (the item
Basket-One(which in turn contains three items)).
The latter is because -- according to the programming language's documentation -- the word
item Basket-One has the effect of "itemizing"
This usage of the word "itemizing" seems like the exact opposite meaning to the English usage I'm familiar with.
What I've found
I've looked at some online dictionary definitions for "itemize" trying to find English language support for this specific use of "itemize".
Consider the two dictionary.com definitions of "itemize":
1. list the individual units or parts of 2. list as an item or separate part
I'm thinking that:
Definition #1 is about immediately and "severally" listing the component parts of a composite thing. (This is the meaning I'm familiar with.)
Definition #2 is about immediately listing only one item, the composite thing.
(If I'm right about definition #2 then the usage in the programming language's documentation is at least consistent with a dictionary definition.)
What, precisely, I'm asking
My main question is the one in this question's title but if anyone has time I'd appreciate answers to some/all of these more detailed questions:
Do most native English speakers recognize two (or more) meanings for "itemize"? Is one meaning dominant and the other(s) rare? What about non-native speakers?
Do you think I'm right about the meaning of the second dictionary.com definition? If not, what is the meaning of the second definition?
Are there yet more definitions of "itemize" beyond the two that dictionary.com lists?
Am I right that the meaning of dictionary.com's second definition emerged from usage of "itemize" in instructions on US (or UK?) tax forms?
Does the second definition always imply that the first definition also applies to the composite object, just elsewhere than the immediate listing context?
Assuming "itemize" can have these two almost opposite meanings (or more), and assuming this ambiguity is considered so problematic in the context I describe (English prose describing a programming language feature) that a better word is called for, what do you think that better single word might best be:
item (i.e. neologize "item", "item'd" or "itemed" etc. as a verb)
Thank you in advance for any and all answers or comments. :)