What other tech synonyms are there for a master-slave relationship? The situation is a knob that controls other knobs, or a button that controls other buttons.

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    Now that I think about it, this is probably better asked on english.stackexchange.com/questions Commented Sep 13, 2011 at 21:12
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    @Frustrated I don't think this has anything to do with EL&U, since the terms suggested have to make sense in a technical sense as well, but I'll check with a mod there to make sure.
    – Adam Lear
    Commented Sep 13, 2011 at 21:17
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    This question is attracting some seriously junky answers: the best place for single-word (or in this case, double-word) requests is English.SE, where you'll likely have a better time getting people to provide useful explanations as to why one pair of words is better than another.
    – user8
    Commented Sep 13, 2011 at 22:02
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    @Robert (and everyone else): if you want to discuss the finer points of offensive language, use chat. If you don't agree with the premise of the question, feel free to down-vote.
    – user8
    Commented Sep 13, 2011 at 22:09
  • Related discussion on English usage StackExchange: english.stackexchange.com/q/204357/36249 Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 23:52

3 Answers 3


You could go with "Parent" and "Child". I guess "Manager" and "Worker" are also possible, though I don't see that nearly as often. Also possible is "Controller" and "Controllee" though that sounds weird, and I'm not even sure if "Controlee" is a word.

On the fun side of things, you could try something like "Overlord" and "Minion". Or "Hero" and "Sidekick". Or "BigBoss" and "Lackey". Or "Captain" and "Sailor". ;)

  • I could live with that last one ;)
    – Rook
    Commented Sep 13, 2011 at 21:57
  • Apart from that, when talking in HDD context, primary/secondary might actually work.
    – Rook
    Commented Sep 13, 2011 at 21:58
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    @Rook: Not serious. Commented Sep 13, 2011 at 22:14
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    @FrustratedWithFormsDesign, I've also been thinking about "supercontrol" and "subcontrol" (or "underling"). Thanks for thinking about this, it definitely helps. +1 Commented Sep 14, 2011 at 1:51
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    – grieve
    Commented Jun 21, 2012 at 14:14

Are you talking about master & slave as used for hard disks? In this case, master & slave are actually a politically correct terms to use. It would also be politically correct to apply those terms to software parts.

Otherwise, you may use some terms depending on the context: primary & secondary, parent & child, etc.

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    "Slave" as in "slavishly following".
    – ChrisF
    Commented Sep 13, 2011 at 21:40
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    I think master/slave is fine as long as SATA has a safe word! Commented Sep 13, 2011 at 22:22

How about Parent / Child(ren) ?

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