Have you ever sent an email, intending to attach something and referring to it in the email, but without actually attaching? I'm wondering if there is a word or words to describe:

  1. The email itself. e.g. 'I just sent a ????? email'

  2. The act of sending such an email. e.g. 'I just ?????ed'

Any proposed word(s) could/should encapsulate concepts of incompleteness or emptiness and/or fact that email was sent prematurely.

I'm not thinking about emails that should have multiple attachments but are incomplete. It's really those simple, '1 attachment' emails.

UPDATE: Playing on another meaning of 'attached', I thought that an email without an attachment could be considered to be 'unattached'. Some words which came up when looking for synonyms were 'single', 'unwed' and 'bachelor'. I don't think any of these are quite right, but hopefully they may inspire others....

  • Not sure why the down-vote. If I can improve or clarify the question, please advise.
    – andyb
    Sep 17 '14 at 0:02
  • A naked email? I just bare bottomed it? A phantom attachment?
    – bib
    Sep 17 '14 at 0:43
  • I dislike the silly sentence structure of "Ever blah blah blah?" It is very annoying and confusing. The grammar is unusual, abnormal and unusable as well. "Have you ever .... ?" - that is the better way of saying it. Sep 17 '14 at 0:47
  • @BlessedGeek - your 'dislike' is my call to action and I have edited my post accordingly. I trust that, in time, you can come to forgive my brief descent into a casual style.
    – andyb
    Sep 17 '14 at 1:47
  • @BlessedGeek Got issues? :(
    – tchrist
    Sep 17 '14 at 1:48


Or, you could simply say "E-mail without the intended attachment." There's not exactly a thing for which we've needed an English word.


I might use a compound adjective for the 'I just sent a ????? email' situation:

'I just sent you an empty-shell email'

And for the 'I just ?????ed' situation, I might say this:

'I just ghost-emailed you'

...but I'm not aware of a standard form for announcing such mistakes. The most common form of acknowledgment used in intra-office email messages at my workplace is simply a follow-up email message with the attached document included as intended, and with a single line of message text along the lines of:

This time with the attachment.


Here's a thought. Playing on the ( to me at least ) recent appearance of the phrase ' my bad ' which I take to mean the acceptance of responsibility for an error, I propose ' my b@d '. This could be taken to describe an error in composing or sending an email. In a similar vein, to describe the problem email itself I propose ' efail ' or ' ef@il'.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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