Posted by: episystechpubs | November 16, 2016

Editor’s Corner: Deprecate, Depreciate, and Software Deprecation

Today’s topic is a little bit tricky. I’d like to provide you the etymologies of two words (deprecate and depreciate) and then discuss how one of those words means something a little different in our world of software development.

From my favorite dictionary, the Online Etymology Dictionary:

· deprecate (verb)

1620s, "to pray against or for deliverance from," from Latin deprecatus, past participle of deprecari "to pray (something) away" (see deprecation). Meaning "to express disapproval" is from 1640s.

· depreciate (verb)

mid-15c., from Latin depretiatus, past participle of depretiare "to lower the price of, undervalue," from de– "down" (see de-) + pretium "price".

And from Wikipedia, more etymological information on the word deprecation, and the special meaning of the word in the world of software:

In general English usage, the infinitive "to deprecate" means "to express disapproval of (something)". It derives from the Latin verb deprecare, meaning "to ward off (a disaster) by prayer". Thus, for one to state that a feature is deprecated is merely a recommendation against using it. It is still possible to produce a program or product without heeding the deprecation.

Software Deprecation

While a deprecated software feature remains in the software, its use may raise warning messages recommending alternative practices; deprecated status may also indicate the feature will be removed in the future. Features are deprecated rather than immediately removed, to provide backward compatibility and give programmers time to bring affected code into compliance with the new standard.

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

Symitar Documentation Services

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