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Does "duplicate" exclude the first in a series?[edit]

It is my perception that many English documents use "duplicate" in a sense that excludes the first in a series -- thus: "duplicates will be deleted" usually means that you will get one of each type, not only the unique items in a list.

However, it is often felt necessary to say "one of the duplicate..." (a phrase with a fairly large Google footprint). In some contexts, e.g. duplicate genes, it is impossible to say which is first in a series, so excluding the first may only be impossible.

What isn't clear to me is whether the difference in meaning depends on subtle inferences from the precise usage (such as with the genes above), or whether there are regional or cultural differences in the use of the term. (for example, I suspect that those working with databases simply tire of saying "duplicate records after the first")

Expert intervention would be well served here. 19:09, 10 January 2008 (UTC)