Is there a noun for a statement that is false, but only because of a single, or a few, counter-examples?

An example of such a statement would be "All primes are odd." as 2 is prime and even, but it is clearly the only one.

  • 3
    I think the term is "false".
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 30, 2015 at 22:33
  • 2
    You could say "All but true".
    – Dan Bron
    Jan 30, 2015 at 22:37
  • (Or, if you must, "true most of the time", though that's a pretty wimpy statement.)
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 30, 2015 at 22:37
  • 3
    Mathematicians have a strange notion "almost all". So... "almost all primes are odd"!
    – GEdgar
    Jan 30, 2015 at 22:41
  • @GEdgar on that note, having studied mathematics myself, "Almost surely" did cross my mind, but I'm finding it hard to use repeatedly in an article explaining how "almost truths" are false.
    – kinbiko
    Jan 30, 2015 at 22:45

3 Answers 3


Is there a noun for a statement that is false?

Misstatement seems good.

Noun form of misstate:



Make wrong or inaccurate statements about:

"All primes are odd," is a misstatement.

Misstatement implies less intense condemnation of the error than lie, falsehood or fallacy.

Fallacy implies the error of the statement is not in the statement per se, but in the logical underpinnings of the statement. That does not apply to your example, but could apply to the question.

An Inexactitude might work.

Noun form of inexact


Not quite accurate or correct:

An Imprecision might be a good word for a sentence that almost gets it right.

Noun form of imprecise:


Lacking exactness and accuracy of expression or detail:

  • 2
    Not to say that these aren't just fine suggestions, but it's a good idea to wait a while (some say a day) before accepting an answer. Jan 31, 2015 at 11:24

Wouldn't you settle for an adverb? Just throw in "essentially". All primes are odd, essentially.

  • How does throwing in 'essentially' make a false statement acceptable? Jan 31, 2015 at 0:52
  • 2
    It allows for inessential exceptions.
    – Greg Lee
    Jan 31, 2015 at 0:56
  • 1
    2 is not an inessential exception to the set of primes. Jan 31, 2015 at 11:30
  • Yes, it is inessential. "Prime" could have been defined as meaning "an integer not divisible by a different integer other than 1", with no harm done (except that 2 would no longer count as prime).
    – Greg Lee
    Jan 31, 2015 at 13:07
  • I should have said "(except that 1 and 2 would no longer count as primes)".
    – Greg Lee
    Jan 31, 2015 at 13:18

"is nearly univerally true" or

"is true in almost all cases" or

"is, with few exceptions, true"

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