In this case technically meaning "according to the prescribed definition or rules." Is there a single word antonym for this?

closed as off-topic by Drew, GoldenGremlin, sumelic, curiousdannii, Phil Sweet Jul 17 '16 at 5:07

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    Could you provide some idea of what you want the opposite to mean? And maybe a sentence it should go in? For example do you mean “not according to prescribed definition or rules” or “in accordance with local customs” ... – Jim Jul 17 '16 at 0:45
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    Instead of technically speaking, roughly speaking. – GoldenGremlin Jul 17 '16 at 0:45
  • illicitly speaking – user180089 Jul 17 '16 at 0:56
  • Well, PowerThesaurus gives us faithlessly, randomly, deceitfully, erratically, haphazardly, irregularly, loosely, and, my best guess at your intended meaning, fortuitously. – Hot Licks Jul 17 '16 at 2:25


OED definition of technically:

In the technical use or terminology of a particular field; according to the exact meaning; properly, strictly.

Example (made up): Technically speaking, a tomato is a fruit.

OED definition of loosely:

Without care, strictness, or rigour; not strictly; carelessly, negligently, laxly. Said esp. of thought or its expression

Example (made up): Loosely speaking, if it looks like a veggie and tastes like a veggie, it is a veggie, technicalities be damned.


I'd propose "informally" as well. While it's not a direct antonyms, a technical description is often extremely precise, and therefore formal (i.e. using complicated words and very formal structure). An informal description, on the other hand, uses colloquial terms or colloquial meanings of technical jargon, as opposed to the strictly correct words.

Merriam Webster defines "informal" as

of language : relaxed in tone : not suited for serious or official speech and writing

Again, not technically an antonym, but it describes situations where non-technical descriptions are often found

  • I wrote this on mobile, so there are probably a few punctuation and spelling errors that I missed. Please feel free to correct them. – Nic Hartley Jul 17 '16 at 5:06

I agree that "loosely" is a good antonym. However, it will probably be most coherent in both speech and writing to use the phrase "loosely speaking" as an antonym to "technically".

"Technically" is itself often used with "speaking", but because the former is so commonly used nowadays (I guess), the latter word in the phrase is dropped being understood.

So, say or write: "loosely speaking" as an antonym to "technically".

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