Something indicating above and beyond the standard best practices, superior to by-the-book-experience.

For instance, I would like to use it in a blog title The non-textbook / non-standard / beyond best practices / virality of XYZ, to indicate that XYZ is doing a better job and not following standard textbook techniques.

The following does not indicate more effective or positive. "The non-standard approach to organic discovery and viral loops in XYZ"

Alternatively, I'd like to say XYZ does not follow the best practices of virality but it doing way better. An idiom, phrase or even a word would work.

  • 2
    You are not using antonym correctly in your title and in your first sentence. Why not just say "what is an idiom for better than ...." in the title and delete the first sentence?
    – ab2
    Commented Jul 17, 2016 at 18:06
  • 1
    "Best practices" is where entrepreneurs start. Commented Jul 17, 2016 at 21:40
  • 1
    @HotLicks Going "above and beyond best practices" is easy. Choose a method at random from here: ig.ft.com/sites/guffipedia
    – alephzero
    Commented Jul 17, 2016 at 21:41
  • 2
    @HotLicks Wouldn't say that. Best practice is something seen as “superior to any alternatives because it produces results that are superior to those achieved by other means or because it has become a standard way of doing things” (to quote the Wikipedia article). There's always room for improvement even on best practices—particularly the ones that are just standard ways of doing things. Commented Jul 17, 2016 at 23:59
  • 1
    @HotLicks I can't speak for engineering specifically (which I would definitely not call more English than marketing speak), but within academia, medicine, publishing, insurance, and just run-of-the-mill enterprising, best practices does not refer to some unchangeable, perfect method of doing things that can never in any way be improved upon. It refers, exactly as every dictionary I've looked up the term in so far, to “procedures that are accepted or prescribed as being correct or most effective”. Best practices change all the time as technology advances and ‘best’ is no longer best. Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 11:31

4 Answers 4


I'd like to say XYZ does not follow the best practices of virality but it doing way better. An idiom, phrase or even a word would work.

Is anything wrong with saying it's doing it in a unorthodox yet superior way?

Contrary to what is usual, traditional, or accepted

Of high standard or quality




constituting, serving as, or worthy of being a pattern to be imitated

"XYZ is the paradigmatic technique/practice/case for reproducibly solving this problem."



1: the original pattern or model of which all things of the same type are representations or copies

"XYZ is the archetypal technique/practice/case that sets a model for everyone to use."



  1. of or relating to the most perfect embodiment of something

"XYZ is the quintessential technique/practice/case for solving this problem."

  • 1
    Similar to paradigmatic is model. Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 0:00

MW defines avant-garde (from French, “advance guard”) as

an intelligentsia that develops new or experimental concepts especially in the arts

This could plausibly be applied to a person who develops and field-tests new techniques, before they get distilled and codified; or to the techniques themselves.



If I were to say that XYZ approach does better than "best practices," I would say it raises the bar, or sets a new standard. If you want to use a single word you could call it novel, like the patent office. The entire concept of state of the art admits that the current state is ephemeral and will advance.

novel - new and different from what has been known before

raise the bar - To raise standards or expectations, especially by creating something to a higher standard.

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