Variation lock seems more accurate by mathematical definitions
Edit(to give it more context)
- Hey, can you tell me the combination of your lockbox ?
Why don’t we say variation(or permutation)? The order matters in this case and combination is an unordered set of numbers.
Because most people are not mathematicians.
I know that sounds like a flippant answer, but it’s genuinely the answer. There are many words which have a more precise (or even different) meaning for specialists, and the fact is that these words simply have both meanings. The question “Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable?” is an all too familiar example: to a botanist, it’s a fruit; to most of us, it’s a vegetable.
So the fact that mathematicians use “combination” in a more restricted way is irrelevant to almost everybody who uses the locks.