I am trying to describe the process of reinstating something that has been archived and would like to know the correct verb to use.

I have a feeling it's either 'dearchive' or 'unarchive' but the only references I can find are for programming languages, and they use both in equal measure!

If anyone can help it would be much appreciated.

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I don't think the words have been around long enough for us to know a standard. All I can tell you is that at the company where I work we say "unarchive"!

What do you mean by reinstating an archive?

ARMA members or RMOs probably have a term for it.
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'Reactivate'? What is being extracted from archives-- papers? files?
Usually electronic data. In some computer systems, archival is simply the (electronic) marking of records of data with an "archive" code. Among other effects, this eliminates the record from consideration in requests for reports from the database. A company may wish, for example, to report only on year-to-date data. All data from previous years will then be archived. The everyday running of the system will involve only this year's data. But if the IRS, say, does an audit and the company needs to produce records from several years ago, from the year 2001, say, then the data from 2001 is unarchived for this special purpose, that is, the special archival mark is removed from the relevant records in the database.

Here's my thinking:

1. To archive (your usage) is derived from the noun archive (public records office).

2. Archive is a noun derived from the French archif , archive , < late Latin archium , archivum , < Greek "archieon" magisterial residence, public office, < "archon" government.

+1 DE- In Latin, de- had also the function of undoing or reversing the action of a verb.
-1 DIS- In Latin, compounds in dis- were frequently the opposites of those in com-, con-; e.g. concolor of the same colour, discolor of different colours;
-1 UN- Representing Old English un-...

(definitions taken from the OED).

I believe the answer you are looking for is de-archive, based on the origin and type of the prefix. OK?

-- six years later I am looking this up too.
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I doubt there are something called 'dearchive' and unarchive' !!

But due to globalization, and esp computerization people are coining those words thesedays.

Its up to us how we infer.

In general....

'de' is prefixed to reverse... while 'un' to mention 'not yet happaned'


1. deactivate --> meaning --> repeal activation [Get back to prior state]

2. unworthy --> meaning --> not worthy

other example can be like

unconnected ---> not yet connected

disconnected --> connection got broken

so the former one is used to 'prior' cases while the latter for 'after' cases
We use "dearchive" colloquially where I work, but the term we try to use in more formal communication is "restore."

I'm not sure your explanation holds for all un- words.

What about undo, unfasten, and untie?

undo - reversal of what was done

unfasten - open the fastening of

untie - undo a cord or similar fastening

It seems un- works differently depending on if it is added to a noun, adjective, participle or added to a verb.


1. (added to adjectives, participles, and their derivatives) denoting the absence of a quality or state; not.


2. (added to nouns) a lack of.



1. added to verbs:

2. denoting the reversal or cancellation of an action or state.


3. denoting deprivation, separation, or reduction to a lesser state.


  • denoting release.


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