I wrote this sentence

To detect the boundaries of the segments, we may use text and visual signals as we scan the page top-down or bottom-up. In this paper, we refer to such (features/items/elements/signals ?) with the term anchor. (In our terms/in this term ?), they are mainly textual elements within the page content, which serve as the starting point of a data region or a distinctive feature within them.

Sometimes I want to refer to something in general (like item, element...). what are the words for it in order of generality and commonness?

  • There are A LOT of words referring to something general. Could you narrow your search to a shorter list of perhaps 3-5 words? Or simply the most common word? Just from searching the synonym of item, it came up with 34 different words. Here's the link: thesaurus.com/browse/item
    – CipherBot
    Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 12:53
  • @CipherBot I provide the paragraph to provide the context. it refers to text and visual signals
    – Ahmad
    Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 13:11
  • Just to clarify. You are asking to list these 4 words; features, items, elements and signals, in order of commonness. is that correct?
    – CipherBot
    Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 13:14
  • @CipherBot these or any word you offer, by general I mean, when you don't have a specific thing to say how you select a word. it seems "element" here is suitable as they are part of the page.
    – Ahmad
    Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 13:16

1 Answer 1


Here is a graph by Google Ngrams on the commonness of the words you provided.

As you can see, the usage of elements is by far the most common out of the four. But as in comparison to the word things which may or may not fit into your context, things is much more used.


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