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We have this Hungarian phrase "Állatorvosi ló", which literally translates to "Veterinarian horse".

It originated in 19th century Hungarian literature, when someone created an illustration of a horse that exhibited all the possible external and internal sicknesses a horse can have.

Nowadays it is used to describe all the possible (negative) conditions something can have.

In our concrete case, we're doing software testing for a CAT (Computer Aided Translation) software that has a QA module; and we're going to build a special project (the 'vetenarian horse') that exhibits all the possible errors the QA module can throw at us.

What would be an idiomatic word or phrase to express that?

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In some computer circles a related term is "Christmas Tree", as in "lit up like a Christmas Tree". cf: catb.org/jargon/html/C/Christmas-tree-packet.html Don't know of a medical term, though. –  Alex Feinman Oct 3 '12 at 13:05
    
@AlexFeinman That sounds like an answer :) I don't think the OP is particular about a medical equivalent. An autopsy or a vivisection sounds a little too macabre in any event. –  coleopterist Oct 3 '12 at 13:51
    
@KTamas, I think you would want the term "veterinarian's horse" or "veterinarian horse" or maybe "veterinary horse." –  JLG Oct 3 '12 at 13:51
    
@coleopterist yeah, not particular about the medical part. –  KTamas Oct 3 '12 at 13:55
    
@AlexFeinman Christmas Tree does sound promising although I can't help to wonder if there is an even better expression for it. –  KTamas Oct 3 '12 at 13:55
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4 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

It's not exactly commonplace, but OP's QA module could be called a...

polypathological test case - having multiple chronic aliments

Personally though, I think a little dry humour wouldn't go amiss here. I'd call it a...

basket case - in a completely hopeless or useless condition

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Thanks everyone for all the suggestions, in the end, basket case sounds the best. –  KTamas Oct 4 '12 at 14:23
    
@KTamas: You might want to call yours the definitive basket case for the QA. Although in my experience, once you get beyond a certain level of complexity on the input side, it becomes impractical to set up tests for every feasible combination that might throw the software. Effectively, there's no such thing as a "definitive" test suite for anything beyond the trivial. –  FumbleFingers Oct 4 '12 at 14:44
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Besides the terms mentioned in comments (humbug and Christmas tree), consider poster child; which literally is “a child afflicted by some disease or deformity whose picture is used on posters or other media as part of a campaign to raise money or enlist volunteers for a cause or organization” but figuratively is often used to mean an outstanding example of one problem or another. An example from the wikipedia article:

The Oakland County Intermediate School District (near Detroit) was cited as “the poster child for fiscal irresponsibility.”

That article links to epitome and archetype articles. You might also refer to your horse as an archetypal or archetypical problem. Also, unless you have already otherwise dedicated the term, you might call the problem a quintessence, “A thing that is the most perfect example of its type; the most perfect embodiment of something”. These latter terms are obvious once explained but perhaps not self-evident.

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The word omnishambles has recently become popular in British politics.

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I hate that word! Currently being flogged to death by Labour politicians trying to give the impression that they have their finger on the nation's "linguistic pulse" (and that they watch The Thick of It just like "ordinary" voters). Roll on the day when Mr Speaker rules that it's "unparliamentary language". –  FumbleFingers Oct 4 '12 at 14:49
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I've heard it said of people who exhibit significantly annoying behavior that they are or suffers from MMPD—"Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Disorder", an expression formed from the famous Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory.

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