When I look them up on dictionaries, I find a genereal definition for these words like "it is a place where something is put so that is can be kept safe". So it is pretty hard to distinquish where or how to use them?

I guess these words suggest places used for similar purposes but there are unique collacations with these words that we cannot use one instead of another.

For example I heard museums use the word respotory for the place where they keep the artefacts that they don't exibit currently.But I am not 100% sure.

And I also saw another example of usage on Cambridge Dictionaries Online that "a nuclear waste repository"

An the word depot is used like a terminal where buses that are not on service at night are kept .

I would like to know especially their collacations and which words are prefered in these situations?

1.For example when you go a clothing store and when you could not find the exact size of a pair of shoes you look for among the exhibited ones inside the store, you would want to ask to a sales assistants to make sure if these sizes all was sold out and when you say

"Do you have that size of shoes"

And the sales assistant could asnwer like

" I am not sure.Let me check the .............."

So which word to use appropiate here. This scenerio can apply similar retailer shops like bookshop

2.I would like to know where production factories is kept their raw , semifinished and finished products?

1 Answer 1


I am a native UK English speaker:

Repository - central location to store something for the sake of safety/preservation. An example of this would be the storing of code e.g. github where you want the code to be safe. Another example would be the storing hazardous materials e.g. nuclear waste.

Depot - Although this is described as a synonym of warehouse/storehouse, I only hear this used to describe places where people store large equipment while not in use - for example, storing buses overnight when not in use or storing buses in need of repair. The equipment is generally used off-site.

Depository - A place to store things for safe-keeping - particularly valuable items. There is a security aspect to this. An example would be a library, museum or safety deposit box at a bank.

Warehouse - generally means large building you store things. Usually it is used to descibe a large building to store finished goods in, think the definition of 'wares' (manufactured goods). A large department store such as IKEA would have a warehouse to store it's large number of stock items. A small retailer e.g. a small book store or supermarket would likely use a 'stock room' for local storage of goods sold in the store and have a number of more central warehouses that store large amounts of stock ready for distribution to individual stores' stock rooms. Warehouse is a very generic term and can also just mean large building you store things in bulk in.

Storehouse - A place you store things, very general refers to a building usually. Depositories, repositories or warehouses could all be described as more specific types of store houses. I don't use this word a whole lot as it's pretty general, you may as well say 'X is stored offsite' or 'X is in storage'

Question 1: The sales assistant would say:

"I am not sure. Let me check the stockroom"

If she checks the stockroom and finds no shoes currently in store she might say:

" Sorry, we currently have no shoes in stock in store - I could check our warehouse for you?"

You agree and she checks the store database to see if they have any shoes in the central warehouse. If there are, she might order them for you to be delivered to the store.

Question 2: I would say for finished products - 'warehouse' works in most situations, I very rarely hear people use the word 'storehouse'. Many raw materials are kept in storehouses with specific names e.g. grain is kept in a silo or granary. A silo is a large tower that's filled with grain/silage for storage. However, if you said the grain was stored in a storehouse or warehouse people would know what you meant and it would sound fine.

  • 1
    Do you all use the term "the back" or "the back room" when asking a sales associate to check the stockroom, as is our wont in AmE?
    – user6951
    Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 15:51
  • Generally a sales assistant would check 'the back' for additional stock rather than 'the back room'. 'The back room' tends to be used to describe a place where members of staff can rest during their shift / get away from clients. Something similar to a staff room, though usually a lot more low-key or make-shift.
    – amblina
    Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 10:34
  • Cheers.I appreciate your taking the time to answer my question
    – Mrt
    Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 19:17
  • @Mrt No problem!
    – amblina
    Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 20:28

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