I'm reporting the result of a study with specified target cohorts (e.g., people born in 1985, in 1990, etc.). There are participants who don't belong to these target groups (e.g., ones born in 1986) but have participated in the study anyway. Can I refer to them as outsiders ?

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    This depends. Are you calling people who do fall inside the target groups Insiders? If so, it would make sense to call those that do not fit within the target groups outsiders. Mar 12, 2016 at 8:16
  • @DavidBarker unfortunately, although helpful, this doesn't solve my problem because I'm a foreign English learner and I don't have a clear sense of whether I could call the target people "insiders" or not either.
    – Ehsan88
    Mar 12, 2016 at 8:19
  • I understand your dilemma. I mean to say that it is your choice what you call them. But be sure to describe what the words you choose infer. By choosing opposites you create a natural inference between the two subsets. This makes it easier for someone reading your report to understand. Typically, in reports I have read of this nature, people say that a group Belong to a range, and those that fall outside, Don't belong. This is personal preference, and should match the style of the document you are writing. Mar 12, 2016 at 8:31
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    What is your native language, and how would you write such a term in your language?
    – user3169
    Mar 12, 2016 at 20:05
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    If you report results per cohort, you can refer to those that don't belong in any of the reported cohorts as "others". This can be a separate category in your report. Mar 22, 2016 at 7:53

1 Answer 1


I believe the word you're looking for here is Outlier.

Dictionary.com gives two relevant definitions:

something that lies outside the main body or group that it is a part of;

an observation that is well outside of the expected range of values in a study or experiment;

The students you are looking at are a part of a class, but due to their year of birth, aren't in the main sub-group (those born in 1985). If you put their birthdays on a chart, you would see the bulk of students clustered around 1985, with only a few outliers around 1986.

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    Thanks Damien. But the word outlier is used technically for people who scored too high or too low on a scale and usually are dropped from further analysis, not because of being out of a set of groups, but because of their extreme scores. Using outlier in the case would cause much ambiguity.
    – Ehsan88
    Mar 23, 2016 at 7:34

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