In programming some components have a set list of items while others have a fixed list of items. Are both usages correct and outside of programming is there a difference between them?

How different are they from the "a list of items"?


Outside of programming, the meanings between your two phrases are basically the same

a set guest list
a fixed guest list

a set price
a fixed price

are both lists and prices which have been determined beforehand and not changeable. One might say

The guest list is set.
The price is set.

which has a different meaning of being established. Whereas,

The guest list is fixed.
The price is fixed.

has the same meaning of unchangeability.

The difference is in programming there is the particular concept of immutability where an array or list can not be changed programmatically and is usually a fundamental feature of a programming language, but in everyday usage the definitions can be more blurred and ambiguous which can not be allowed in programming.


a set list of items

A set:

  1. countable noun
    A set of things is a number of things that belong together or that are thought of as a group.

So this list contains items that go together for some reason.


a fixed list of items

See fixed:

  1. adjective You use fixed to describe something which stays the same and does not or cannot vary.

So a fixed list never changes. All items stay the same.

And a list is just a list. That's all.

  • If we say "a set of items" instead of "a set list of items" will it change the meaning? Apr 4 '17 at 5:07
  • "a set of items" might be 5 actual bottles, while "a set list of items" is just a written list of them (Budweiser, Michelob ...).
    – user3169
    Apr 4 '17 at 5:19

I'm going to agree with the others that the meanings are very similar, but, to me, have a slight nuanced difference. A set list to me indicates that the what of the list is predetermined, while a fixed list indicates that both what and where are predetermined (the order of the list).

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