Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

For the longest time, I have been searching for a word to describe irrational demands. Any ideas?

share|improve this question
1  
Do you have an example of such a demand, or a sentence you want to use this word in? –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Nov 25 '11 at 22:38
    
Without context, I don't think this question is answerable. –  onomatomaniak Nov 26 '11 at 16:33
    
We're really trying to avoid using this site for "single word requests," If you have a particularly interesting problem to solve, all we ask is that you put a bit of effort and research into the question. See: meta.english.stackexchange.com/questions/1654/… or meta.english.stackexchange.com/questions/2160/… –  Robert Cartaino Nov 27 '11 at 22:43
add comment

closed as not a real question by Robert Cartaino Nov 27 '11 at 22:43

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

2 Answers

Some possibilities: pipe dream, "A plan, desire, or idea that will not likely work; a near impossibility"; whim, "fanciful impulse, or whimsical idea", where fanciful means "imaginative or fantastic; unreal or imagined" and meanings of whimsical include "capricious; odd; peculiar;"; and delusion, "A false belief that is resistant to confrontation with actual facts."

The first two of these (pipe dream and whim) are more like requests or wishes than they are demands; delusions, on the other hand, often have the force of demands, in that a delusional individual is likely to insist upon you, too, believing a lie.

Absurdities is another possibility, but like my other suggestions it represents the "irrational" aspect of requests more so than the "demand" aspect. For the latter aspect, try draconian, "highly strict". The excess associated with draconian measures (e.g., death penalty for minor offenses) lends it a sense of irrationality.

share|improve this answer
add comment

I'm not sure of a term that would work in every context. But to add to jwpat7's list, you could use red tape or bureaucracy for when the demand has no real justification, it's just there because it's there (or because it's a relic from an outdated process).

share|improve this answer
add comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.