Is there a single word for the text within quotation marks in the citation below?

All such statements [entity doesn’t exist] are casual short-hand for a more elaborate and technical statement: “this alleged entity has no place in any scientific equations, plays no role in any scientific explanations, cannot be used to predict any events, does not describe any thing or force that has yet been detected, and there are no models of the universe in which its presence is either required, productive, or useful.”

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    Imaginary is one such; spiritual is another. Depends on what Entity they're talking about. – John Lawler Jun 22 '14 at 19:11
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    I think imaginary is rather unsuitable due to imaginary numbers having a real impact on our understanding (and thus have a productive property) in trigonometry and analysis. Spiritual fits, but are all non-existing entities spiritual? – Ultimate Hawk Jun 22 '14 at 19:15
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    Er, are you really asking for a single word to convey what has taken more than fifty to express in "this alleged entity ... productive, or useful."? – Andrew Leach Jun 22 '14 at 19:34
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    The more elaborate and technical description does not sound anything like “does not exist” to me. It sounds much more like something along the lines of unfounded. Quite apart from that, “All such statements [entity doesn’t exist]” makes absolutely no grammatical sense to me—I cannot fathom what the resulting phrasing would be once you have found the word you’re looking for. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jun 22 '14 at 19:45
  • Being kicked in the butt five times is not imaginary, but five is. "Imaginary" numbers are no more imaginary than "real" numbers, or any numbers; all of them were invented by people and don't exist in the physical world where we exist. Don't confuse math with science; science has data, and never proves anything, while math has no data and therefore can prove abstract theorems. – John Lawler Jun 22 '14 at 20:11

. . . this alleged entity has no place in any scientific equations, plays no role in any scientific explanations. . . .

Sciosophy: supposed knowledge of natural or supernatural phenomena or forces, usually based on tradition, as astrology or phrenology.

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    I think it's worth pointing out that OED apparently has no entry for this or any close variants thereof. – FumbleFingers Jun 22 '14 at 21:55

The word you are probably after is nonexistent.

If the thing used to exist but no longer does, then you could also use nonextant, although that doesn't seem to be that case in your example.


I’d go with phantom, as it can be applied as both a noun or an adjective.


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