I'm looking for a word to describe when everything is exactly wrong. "Imperfect" isn't what I'm looking for, as it can be used when some things are right and other things are wrong.

For example, suppose I'm predicting that a series of coin flips will all be heads:

  • If every coin is a head, I was 100% correct and have made a perfect prediction.
  • If some coins are heads and some coins are tails, I was neither 100% nor 0% correct and have made an imperfect prediction.
  • If every coin is a tail, I was 0% correct and have made a _______ prediction.
  • There are a lot of terms borrowed from sports that carry a similar meaning, like "rout" and "shutout." But they aren't adjectives. – RaceYouAnytime Apr 11 '17 at 23:05
  • 2
    ... And 'perfect storm' is used to describe a situation where everything goes as wrong as is possible, a worst-case scenario. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 11 '17 at 23:07
  • 1
    Absolutely wrong, totally wrong – Xanne Apr 11 '17 at 23:18
  • I don't know if it's just me, but I keep bristling when I read the term imperfect prediction. – J.R. Apr 12 '17 at 0:17
  • 3
    How about dead wrong – Richard Kayser Apr 12 '17 at 1:35

How about:

antithetical , antithetic

Since it's supposed to be a complete contrast, as in antithesis, it's adjective could be used.

If every coin is a tail, I was 0% correct and have made an antithetical prediction.

| improve this answer | |

Obverse. But it's kinda arcane. I'd just say "spectacularly wrong."

| improve this answer | |
  • Michelle's right about obverse but it's worse than obscure. The only two (obscure) places people use the term any more are in numismatics and philosophy. In one, it's the front or main design (opposed to the reverse side); in the other, it's just a restatement of the original idea with the same truth value. So the few people who do know the word will take it in sense exactly obverse from the one OP is intending... – lly Apr 12 '17 at 4:44
  • Spectacularly wrong isn't bad but it's not quite the same as completely, exactly, or perfectly wrong which is what OP was going for. – lly Apr 12 '17 at 4:46

Not an exact match to your wording, but the first thing that comes to mind is


For white Americans of a certain age, the most powerful example of the kind of wrongness being described is an episode of Seinfeld where the character George Costanza realizes that every single decision of his life has been the wrong one. He reverses course and consciously opts for the exact opposite of any decision he needs to make. By the end of the episode, he has a lovely girlfriend, a new home, a better relationship with his parents, and a job working for the New York Yankees by insulting their owner George Steinbrenner to his face.


As far as phrasing, you'd just work his name into a simile or metaphor or one of the informal expressions like pull a..., did a...

| improve this answer | |
  • Very funny clip from Seinfeld, thank you for posting. P.S did you try posting an image? Because all I can see is an icon next to the link. – Mari-Lou A Apr 12 '17 at 7:41
  • @Mari-LouA You're welcome and it's a great episode if you can find it. I did use the image formatting since I didn't find anything in the help pages about how to embed video. – lly Apr 12 '17 at 7:46
  • Unfortunately, you cannot embed videos on EL&U, that feature is only possible on SE.Movies & TV – Mari-Lou A Apr 12 '17 at 7:47
  • @Mari-LouA Thanks for the heads-up. I'll just leave it as a naked URL then. – lly Apr 12 '17 at 7:59

If every coin is a tail, I was 0% correct and have made a completely incorrect prediction.

(…assuming that predictions can be partly correct or partly incorrect. But that’s how fortune tellers and Old Moore’s Almanac operate.)

Alternatively, in the vernacular ‘bum’ would work well:


informal [attributive] Of poor quality; bad or wrong.

| improve this answer | |

If every coin is a tail, I was 0% correct so have made a mirror image prediction.

mirror image.
1 a : something that has its parts reversely arranged in comparison with another similar thing or that is reversed with reference to an intervening axis or plane.
b : the direct opposite.
- https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mirror%20image

| improve this answer | |

This is what I would say:

"If every coin is a tail, I was 0% correct have made an impossible prediction."

| improve this answer | |
  • Welcome to English Language & Usage! Please explain your answer, preferably with some supporting statements and references. While opinions are valued, they are not of much help as answers. – NVZ Apr 12 '17 at 4:56
  • Not the best choice since the prediction itself is not impossible and the result is not understood as impossible except to 4-dimensional beings. – lly Apr 12 '17 at 6:29

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.