As a French programmer, it always bothers me when I see my colleagues name functions like treatSomeEvent() or treatReport(), when I would prefer handleSomeEvent() or processReport().

To my understanding, "to treat" is more synonym with "to discuss" or "to ponder". Also, I have never found this expression in native-English litterature.

On the other hand, online resources just indicate that "to treat" means:

to deal with or think about (something) especially in a particular way

... and therefore the use of this verb might be correct.

In French, the verb "traiter", while rather vague, is acceptable in both cases. Does "to treat some event" (so as to take a decision) or "to treat some information" (so as to record it) or "to treat an order" (so as to fulfill the mission) sound natural to a native English speaker?

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I understand your concern and agree with you: treat cannot be used in the same sense as one would use handle or process. As specified in your definition, an important element is in a particular way: it implies some sort of attitude to the object, which must be specified.

Thus, it would be perfectly acceptable to name a procedure treatReportWithDisdain() or treatEventWithoutAnySenseOfUrgency() - assuming that there were ever a need to write such routines- but it would not be OK to name a procedure treatReport() or treatEvent().

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  • 2
    I agree, I would find such naming confusing. One can treat wood, by apply a preservative, one can treat a friend to a meal, but I would never simply say to someone "I shall treat your application for a loan." – djna Aug 13 '16 at 11:19

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