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: abort



Related Terms

  • abortion

Usage Context


Replace when possible.

Recommended Replacements

  • User-Initiated Termination
  • Force quit
  • Cancel
  • System-Initiated Termination
  • Fail
  • Close (app, program, connection)
  • End
  • Halt
  • Hard stop
  • Stop (something you triggered)

Unsuitable Replacements

  • Kill (as in Linux systems)


The term “abort” frequently appeared in Inclusive Language Initiative surveys and standards reviews. Multiple organizations felt that usage of the word posed an issue worth addressing in their individual companies and projects. Given this widespread interest, the INI has decided to offer its own guidance.

INI recommends replacing “abort” wherever possible. In accordance with the INI’s language framework, the term does not necessarily constitute a first-order concern. However, because it is such a charged term outside of computing, “abort” fails to provide a clear description of the action being taken, and serves primarily to distract. There are numerous other words in the English language that can serve the same purpose in computing without invoking the emotionally charged cultural context of “abort.”

Although the INI debated whether the word “abort” itself or the procedure commonly associated with it (“abortion”) caused the aforementioned distractions, the etymology of the word has a direct and unambiguous link to the termination of a pregnancy. Alternative uses of the word “abort” are in use today, such as in rocketry. However, the INI concluded that the term itself was insufficiently distanced from its original meaning for those alternative definitions to be its primary association.

All this being said, the INI does not advocate for a blanket replacement of the term. “Abort” appears in many standards organization documents, and is deeply embedded in some operating systems. As such, the INI acknowledges that the term may need to be retained in certain contexts to remain in compliance with those standards, or to preserve accurate documentation for bedrock functions and processes that are too fundamental to be changed.

Some organizations have noted that using “abort” in contexts other than the medical or political serves to de-stigmatize the term, thereby promoting reproductive rights and bodily autonomy. Conversely, discouraging the term could be interpreted as accepting a framing that denies a pregnant person’s right to control their body. The judgment of the INI is that the term causes discomfort or offense without providing a necessary degree of technical clarity, and therefore it should be avoided. At some future point, because language changes over time, “abort” may become a less contentious term; at that juncture, the appropriateness of the term may be revisited.

Term Status

Version: 0.1

Created: August 2021

Review status:

  • Reviewed by Inclusive Naming Initiative
  • Approved by Inclusive Naming Initiative Language Workstream
  • Reviewed by URM organizations and working groups
  • Reviewed by professional diversity consultants

Supporting Content