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Is there a word to describe either under or overweight? I simply want a single word that would mean "this is the amount that is - or + the normal weight range".

I am thinking of either 'deviation' or 'discrepancy', any of them is good for this usage?

The word will be followed by a number with a sign (+,-).

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    A very interesting question. I don't think there's anything that's quite a standard usage there, but I'll give it a ponder. It feels like a statistical term would be tempting, but I'm not sure any of those mean "outside the normal range" rather than "difference from expected/average". – SamBC Feb 4 at 0:51
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    I can think of several terms but you would never want to use any of them to describe people. Furthermore, if you know the direction of the discrepancy it's much better to use the proper directional term rather than referring to something having an abnormal weight. – Ed Grimm Feb 4 at 5:17
  • @EdGrimm it's for the weight, not the person. – Him Feb 4 at 12:30
  • @him: can you please provide a little more context? What is the object you want to describe, which is the audience, give examples of sentences (of course, "broken" sentences, since you do not have the proper word). – virolino Mar 13 at 7:11
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As a heading in a table, deviation works well, provided there is context to support it:

This table shows the mass of each loaf of bread, and the deviation from the weight claimed on the label

 shape    mass   deviation
 round    450g   +50
 tin      780g   -20

In general writing, you should rephrase:

The first loaf was fifty grams heavier than the weight claimed on the packaging, but the second was 20 grams lighter.

You can say "The first loaf deviated by +50g" but this is not a common way to express this.

This gets socially complex if you start talking about people. Weight is something that people see as being personal to them. The same language of "deviation" is possible, but be aware that some will find this insulting.

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So, deviation is a reasonably correct use of a statistical term. It refers to the difference between an observed value and some reference value - usually the reference value is the mean, but not always. All we have here is a reference value that's actually a range, but it isn't much of a stretch.

On the other hand, depending on the audience you may wish to avoid that term for this particular value. If it's being used by the public, the lack of statistical education would likely mean some would take it as being insulting, that being overweight or underweight is "deviant" in a moralistic sense.

A brief bit of digging suggests that any other term would be a much more novel coining, however. If the audience is statisticians or clinicians, you can definitely use deviation, but you should take clear to carefully define it before use (if this is for a document) or in unavoidable bits of user interface (if this is for software).

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I ended up using 'Status', it's the best option I could come up with. It will also not be "insulting" to people, IMO.

  • Will you please add in the answer the sentence, the one which uses "status"? Tnx ;) – virolino Mar 13 at 8:40

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