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I read some articles that used ad-hoc like an adjective.

Questions:

  • What exactly does it mean in this paragraph:

    Needless to say, all of that is pretty painful and error prone. Sure, once you’re familiar with a library, you’d probably just copy it from another project instead of getting it from the web, which makes things a bit easier. But it’s still an overall very ad-hoc process. — Source.

  • Are there any other meanings?

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No one has actually said that yet, so I'll comment here: ad hoc (like the other Latin locutions) should not be hyphenated, whether it's used as an adverb or adjectivally. –  F'x May 3 '11 at 13:33
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3 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Ad hoc means (as reported by the OED) "created or done for a particular purpose as necessary."

The discussions were on an ad hoc basis.
The group was constituted ad hoc.

The NOAD gives a similar definition: "formed, arranged, or done for a particular purpose only."
The Collins English Dictionary defines ad hoc as "for a particular purpose only; lacking generality or justification."

an ad hoc decision
an ad hoc committee

 

The phrase comes from Latin, and it literally means "to this."

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There may also be an implication of the ad hoc thing being temporary or last-minute in nature. See also Wikipedia. –  Steve Melnikoff May 3 '11 at 13:26
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It's usually synonymous with "on the fly" or "off the cuff." Sometimes means "as needed." In other words, "not planned in advance." –  The Raven May 3 '11 at 15:37
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Ad-hoc means that the solution is designed for this singular purpose, and not meant to be adapted to other processes.

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made or happening only for a particular purpose or need, not planned before it happens

ad hoc committee/meeting

We deal with problems on an ad hoc basis (= as they happen).

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