I'm looking for an adjective, and I'll use an example to describe what I'm looking for.

John says: "It is impossible to stand on one hand."

When in reality, it is unimaginably difficult (one might also say, statistically impossible) to stand on one hand.* John's statement isn't necessarily wrong, it's just incorrectly "rounded off" the slightest amount, and "technically correct, but not completely".

Someone pedantic could correct John, saying: "Your statement is ____."

  • 1
    * I honestly have no idea if anyone has succeeded in standing on one hand; I simply picked something that sounded near-impossible for the example.
    – IQAndreas
    Dec 23, 2013 at 15:53
  • Why not try "flawed"?
    – Robusto
    Dec 23, 2013 at 15:54
  • Some people would use wrong for this.
    – bdsl
    Jun 18, 2015 at 16:30

2 Answers 2


Consider the following terms.
unsound, “Not sound; not whole; not solid; defective”
unsafe, in its legal sense of not being shown beyond the shadow of a doubt
debatable, “Controversial. Not fully proved, open to debate”
controvertible, “Open to questioning; that which can be denied, challenged, or disputed”

Use unsafe if talking with legally versed people in the UK. Use debatable if you wish to suggest the topic is open to discussion. Use controvertible if you want a simple word that is uncommon and correct: it asserts that exceptions to some assertion exist, without denying that the assertion is true of many cases.


'Close' would be the simplest means of this as 'almost-but-not-quite' in many circumstances. For an attempt or action that nearly but doesn't actually succeed or do what was intended might be considered a near miss, or false-start.

Or to fully quote webster's synonyms for 'Almost'

about, all but, borderline, fair [chiefly British], fairly, feckly [chiefly Scottish], more or less, most, much, near, nearly, next to, nigh, practically, somewhere, virtually, well-nigh, as good as, just about, pretty much, within an inch of

  • As in "close, but no cigar!" :-) Dec 23, 2013 at 21:16

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