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Would you know any synonyms for "a neighbourhood of" as used here:

The reactants in Test Tube C reached a neighbourhood of stability 40 seconds after they combined to form iron sulfide.

Thank you!

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    To me, this sounds like technical jargon, and any answer based on what it would mean outside the technical context are pure speculation, so I don't think we can answer this question here as we're not technical experts in chemistry.
    – gotube
    Commented Oct 29, 2022 at 12:06
  • Please give the source of the quote. I agree with gotube, "neighbourhood of stability" sound like chemistry jargon, and technical language, that means you need to ask a chemist.
    – James K
    Commented Oct 29, 2022 at 12:18
  • Indeed I think the answers below are all premature. I don't think any can be said to answer your question and they could be completely wrong.
    – James K
    Commented Oct 29, 2022 at 12:25
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    I haven't seen it before in English chemistry jargon. I actually could not find any example. The sentence comes from a German mind. I sort of feel it is awkward but don't know why. Maybe some synonym might read better. The underlying idea is that of closeness, vicinity, etc. If this question is inappropriate in this website, please delete it and my apologies.
    – user163894
    Commented Oct 29, 2022 at 12:32

4 Answers 4

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in the vicinity of

His yearly salary is in the vicinity of one million dollars.

Example usages quoted from Merriam-Webster.

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  • Thank you. Do you think that "vicinity" could be used in the context of the above example (chemistry & science)? Would I have to say reached a vicinity of stability, which isn't exactly the same idiom?
    – user163894
    Commented Oct 29, 2022 at 8:15
  • I am not qualified to answer for its use in the context of science. But 'in the neighborhood of' and 'in the vicinity of' are synonyms as long as they are used to mean 'close to or around (an amount).' Wouldn't you say reached a vicinity of stable 40 seconds?
    – gyute
    Commented Oct 29, 2022 at 8:17
  • Yes, it means "close or around" but vicinity reads strange in that sentence (note that I am not native so I am probably wrong). Does it feel natural to you? Does the idiom work with "A" instead of "THE"? "A vicinity of" (your definition is with THE, not A)
    – user163894
    Commented Oct 29, 2022 at 8:21
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    @gyute Hello, British native here. "Vicinity" to my mind ought to take both a definite and an indefinite article - like any other noun. However in the OED entry on "vicinity" I could find only one relevant example of its use with the indefinite - 1835 I. Taylor Spiritual Despotism iv. 173 That..tendency of things, which places the clergy of a vicinity in opposition the one to the other. So it is rare. However I think the problem the OP is having is not due to the article - it is possibly that "vicinity" is not an exact synonym of "neighbourhood".
    – WS2
    Commented Oct 29, 2022 at 9:11
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    Continued: "Vicinity" is most often used in connection with another focal point e.g "she found herself in the vicinity of a church". It rarely stands alone in quite the way "neighbourhood" does. While I could say "I noticed I was in a smart neighbourhood" one would be unlikely to say "I noticed it was a smart vicinity". A better synonym might be locality.
    – WS2
    Commented Oct 29, 2022 at 9:16
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"The reactants in Test Tube C reached a neighbourhood of stability 40 seconds after they combined to form iron sulfide."

It's a very 'clunky' sentence. Even as a native speaker it took me a couple of seconds to 'decode' it.

Vicinity is a good synonym, but a much better way to write the sentence would be:

"The reactants in Test Tube C were close to achieving stability 40 seconds after they combined to form iron sulfide.

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  • Do you think that "reached a vicinity of stability" sounds idiomatic?
    – user163894
    Commented Oct 29, 2022 at 9:06
  • @sputmix To me, although it is both grammatically and semantically correct, it sounds wrong. As I mentioned in the answer, even for a native speaker, it is not instantly apparent what is meant. It's not that difficult, but it's perfectly possible to write it in a way that is immediately clear.
    – PRL75
    Commented Oct 29, 2022 at 9:13
  • The problem with "were close to achieving stability" is that it does not describe exactly what happens. I know that the misunderstanding is my fault because the sentence describes something quite technical. What basically happens is that the reactants reach that neighbourhood / vicinity after 40 seconds and then remain permanently in that "neigbourhood" state (they are mostly stable, but some small reactions still occur).
    – user163894
    Commented Oct 29, 2022 at 9:18
  • Could you not say "...reached the area of stability", or perhaps "...the close area of stability"? Or perhaps "...the region of stability"? We do say things like "the sum paid was in the region of a million pounds")
    – WS2
    Commented Mar 31, 2023 at 22:48
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The nearest synonym of neighbourhood I can think of is locality.

Does that help?

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  • Thank you for your comments. The dictionary definitions of locality define it as a small area like a neighbourhood of a city, but do not define it as "close or around" which is the meaning of neighbourhood that I am using here. Note that my usage of neighbourhood in the example sentence is maybe influenced by German.
    – user163894
    Commented Oct 29, 2022 at 10:18
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Just as translating from one language to another does not always mean a literal exchange of words, it is not always possible to understand jargon - scientific or otherwise - by using a thesaurus. I don't think synonyms of 'neighbourhood' will make any sense.

'Stability' in some contexts does not have any gradations - something is either stable, or it is not. For example, you would not expect the foundations of a building to have much movement, if any at all, to be considered 'stable'. But other things have an operating range within which they can be said to be stable.

I think what your example is trying to say is that either a range of stability was reached (ie it was within normal parameters, but perhaps only just), that it gained a degree of stability (ie it was mostly stable), or perhaps that it was approaching and close to a normal range.

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  • Thanks. I don't want to go technical here. Basically, as you say, the intended meaning of "neighbourhood" is that of observable closeness to a certain state (say "95%" closeness - this can only be observerd, it cannot be calculated accurately).
    – user163894
    Commented Oct 29, 2022 at 11:56

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