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I am creating a relation between a bunch of entities where many entities can be duplicates of a single entity. But I can't figure out what to call the "real" entity in relation to one of its duplicates.

Example:

This is a copy, show me the original.

This is a duplicate, show me the XXX.

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    Welcome to ELL.SE! And, that's a nice question, although it may be best to add "comparison" tag. – M.A.R. Feb 9 '15 at 19:58
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    Archetype might be the most precise word if you aren't using duplicate strictly as "exact copy". – ColleenV parted ways Feb 9 '15 at 21:13
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If you want to distinguish these, I would suggest that master is to copy as original is to duplicate. There isn't a big difference, and I'm not disagreeing with the answer that says they're the same,

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The same word for both: Original. Original is to Copy as Original is to Duplicate.

Other terms you can use that mean "original" in the right contexts are "prime," "initial entry," and possibly some of the others at http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/original?s=t .

  • I've never heard "prime" used to mean "original". "Primary" might work, though that would be a stretch. "Initial entry" works only if the thing being copied is an "entry". Like if you said, "Visitors to our web site type in this information, we save the INITIAL ENTRY, and then we make a BACKUP COPY." – Jay Feb 9 '15 at 21:46
  • Optimus Prime! Also, starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Prime_clone . dictionary.reference.com/browse/prime?s=t: "Prime means first in numerical order or order of development: prime meridian; prime cause." Basically, in the right context, "prime" takes a step back to the Latin primus or prima (first / first hour), and takes the meaning of "original," usually as an adjective, but occasionally it loses the other noun serves as a noun itself. – A.Beth Feb 9 '15 at 22:26
  • "Prime" can mean first in the sense of the leader or the most important, as in, "Mr Jones is the prime candidate for this job" or "this is the prime example of a useful web forum". But I don't recall ever hearing it used to mean "first" in the sense of the original before copies were made, as in, "This is the prime document and these are the copies." – Jay Feb 10 '15 at 14:08
  • It's more for non-data circmstances, that's true -- but still, in the right context, it's valid. (It is especially likely to crop up in science fiction, with clones and timelines. "She's from Europa-Prime, but he's from Europa-2D." "Oh, you don't want to talk to me; I'm Alyce-five. You want Alyce-Prime, but she's terribly old and won't be up for two more hours.") – A.Beth Feb 11 '15 at 2:37

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