When someone asks you to verify everything, but there is no complete description of what "everything" encompasses.

e.g. When you have a complex system with tens of thousands of moving parts, and your boss asks you to check that everything works.

  • I don't see what is wrong with unreasonable.
    – WS2
    Feb 4, 2015 at 17:33

3 Answers 3


ambiguous looks a simple word to describe 'there is no complete description of what "everything" encompasses'. At the same time, 'unreasonable' does not fit here.

  • Yes, but the ambiguous nature of a potentially unreasonable request can be quickly resolved by requesting clarification, leaving it either reasonable or unreasonable depending on one's definition of "reasonable." For example, if the OP's boss "clarified" by snarkily asking "What part of the word "everything" don't you understand?" then perhaps the OP is looking for a good, unambiguous word or phrase to describe the situation in his/her letter of resignation! Regardless, +1 for pointing out the possible ambiguity in the request.
    – Papa Poule
    Feb 4, 2015 at 17:31
  • I suppose the description is somewhere between ambiguous and unreasonable. I like the "I want a pony" for it's sheer cheek, but it doesn't accurately describe the situation.
    – dev30207
    Feb 6, 2015 at 16:43

There is "I want a pony" ...


A sarcastic/snarky reply, used mostly when someone says "We want a..." followed by a very hard/impossible request.

The short form of saying "It would probably be neat, but it's just NOT possible."

"We want a copy protection solution that's 100% unbreakable."

"Yes, and I want a pony."


It could be a Sisyphean task.

(Of a task) such that it can never be completed.

This refers to the Greek myth of Sisyphus, who was punished by the gods by being ordered to to push a boulder up a hill, but whenever he was nearing the top it would slip out of his grasp and roll back to the bottom. So he would have to start over, and repeat this forever.

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