The Inclusive Naming Word Lists v1.0 is now available:

This page and its subpages are available as a single downloadable file in these formats: HTML | OpenDocument (.odt) | JSON formats.

(If you want the entire list of all the words in this release as a single file, use these links instead: HTML, OpenDocument (.odt), or JSON)

PDF and other formats will be added soon.

Word List: Tier 1

Term: master-slave


The “master/slave” metaphor in computing refers to a system with a single store of record and a set of replicas which maintain copies of the original data.

Related Terms

  • N/A

Usage Context


Adopt immediately

Recommended Replacements

  • Control plane/control plane node
  • Controller/doer
  • Primary/replica
  • Primary/secondary
  • Leader/follower
  • Parent/child

Unsuitable Replacements

  • N/A


As the IETF puts it, “Master-slave is an oppressive metaphor that will and should never become fully detached from history.” The word’s origins and historicial use reveal use that is at best chauvinistic and racist, and in almost all cases connotative of ownership. While there is some small ambiguity about the term master, the term slave is unambiguously about the ownership and subjugation of another person, and has been since its inception.

The terms master/slave are harmful to Black and people of color contributors and employees. Slavery is a tradition barely 3 generations abolished – there are grandparents alive today who were actual, non-metaphorical slaves. Segregation and Apartheid are even more recent. In accordance with most open source codes of conduct and company handbooks, the mandate of all people in a project is to create a welcoming space, regardless of the level of experience, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, personal appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, age, religion, or nationality. Master/slave are not welcoming words.

Term Status


Supporting Content