I'm looking for a single word that means an issue cannot be resolved by waiting and trying again. Essentially the opposite of intermittent or temporary.

I would previously have used systemic or systematic, but checking the dictionary definitions of these having been challenged on them neither seems to quite fit.

Update to answer questions in the comments:

The word I'm looking for should reflect a problem that will persist until external action is taken, but is not necessarily urgent.

To use it in a sentence:

"Your request has encountered a {Special Word} problem, and will not be retried."

The use I'll be putting it to is more in the nature of a column header though. On the one hand there are temporary problems that might go away if we try again shortly, on the other hand are these problems.

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    Just that it is permanent until solved, not necessarily the same as urgent. – Jontia Apr 9 '18 at 10:00
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    Perennial problem? – Nagarajan Shanmuganathan Apr 9 '18 at 10:46
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    Does the word "irremediable" convey the point you'd like the warning to make? – Green Grasso Holm Apr 9 '18 at 17:22
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    "problem that will persist until external action is taken" -> persistent problem? – DevSolar Apr 10 '18 at 11:24
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    I suggest there's ain't no such animal, which is why 14 Answers and five Comments have merely made themselves into examples… Particularly with an example such as ”Your request has encountered a {Special Word} problem, and will not be retried" it seems fairly clear you’re talking about an IT system and then about a “real” problem, as opposed to one of access. Most obviously “The server might be down” might be resolved by trying again but “The parameter is not recognised” will not. – Robbie Goodwin Apr 10 '18 at 23:14

14 Answers 14


"Your request has encountered a structural problem, and will not be retried."

structural TFD* and TFD - Encyclopedia**

*resulting from the existing political, legal or economic structure **structural :social class, religion, gender, ethnicity, customs, etc. that can limit or influence individual opportunities.

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    If a computer system said this to me, I would assume very strongly that the person who had written the message was not a native speaker of English. Yes, 'structural' can have this meaning. But no, this is not a good error message. – AakashM Apr 10 '18 at 7:56
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    For me this message would imply that there was a problem with the structure of my request. – nekomatic Apr 10 '18 at 8:57
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    @AakashM, which one would you recommend then? – Jontia Apr 10 '18 at 12:57
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    My favourite answer is KRyan's. Although if you must have a single word, I think you already had the answer yourself... – AakashM Apr 10 '18 at 13:12
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    Obviously I like and defend this answer. Structural problems vary. It is not just a computer 'blue screen of death' problem. I do not think OP intended for this to be a error message. Those suggestions that OP re-write her question are not germane. That can be approached by new questions posed by ... well anyone. – lbf Apr 10 '18 at 13:41

"Your request has encountered an unrecoverable problem, and will not be retried."


unrecoverable ADJECTIVE
Not able to be recovered or corrected.

‘any sudden power failure can cause unrecoverable file and disc errors’


Unrecoverable Error

An unrecoverable error is an error that occurs during the execution of a code or a program that has not been registered before and no retries can correct or undo the error.

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    The question says that it can be solved, but by external forces (ie. it doesn't solves by itself). – Braiam Apr 9 '18 at 21:43

You should reword this wording altogether; none of the options here state unambiguously what you mean, and it is unlikely that any user reading this message with any of those examples will understand what you mean. Something like

Your request has encountered a problem this program cannot resolve, and it will not be retried.

This is far clearer than any single-word option available to slot into the sample sentence. Better still would be to suggest steps the user can take to remedy the situation, the more specific the better (but they have to be relevant—I can’t tell you how annoying it is for my personal Windows computer to tell me to talk to my network administrator).

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    I think this is the most realistic answer. The message should also tell the user what to do, e.g., contact their systems administrator, email help@foo.com, try again tomorrow, or whatever. – Harry Johnston Apr 11 '18 at 7:52

In software development this is referred to as a fatal error.

I have not encountered a fatal problem.

Problems (due to hanging or crashing) tend to be irreconcilable.

  • Came to recommend 'terminal' error, but I think your's is synonymous. – user108066 Apr 10 '18 at 12:42
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    As OP states the problem is neither terminal or fatal. – lbf Apr 10 '18 at 13:23
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    @lbf Can I get you to re-read the second sentence? What does that tell you? – Stan Apr 10 '18 at 13:31
  • a problem's whose solution will not be found quickly...but will be resolved when various structural barrier(s) are surmounted. – lbf Apr 10 '18 at 13:45
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    A fatal error kills the application. There is no indication that this error kills the application, just that the particular action the user took could not be completed, and without external changes, won’t be possible. – KRyan Apr 10 '18 at 17:11

I would suggest persistent or chronic.

From Merriam-Webster:

  • persistent
  • 1 : existing for a long or longer than usual time or continuously
  • 2: continuing or inclined to persist in a course

  • chronic
  • 1 : continuing or occurring again and again for a long time
  • 2 : always present or encountered
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    Persistent suggests that I've already retried it and have given up, but the nature of the problem means there is no point retrying. Chronic has similar issues for my use case. – Jontia Apr 9 '18 at 16:14
  • Something more like recurrent then? – Phil M Jones Apr 9 '18 at 16:29
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    In medicine, a "chronic illness" is one that continues indefinitely. In general, "chronic" doesn't mean it went away and came back; it means it stayed where it was. "Recurring" would be something that goes away and comes back. – Jay Apr 10 '18 at 5:47
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    @Jay "In general, "chronic" doesn't mean it went away and came back;" To extend your comment: "intermittent" is the word that means "it repeatedly went away and came back" – Flater Apr 11 '18 at 10:58



(of a problem or dilemma) impossible to solve or settle. -OLD

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    The question says that it can be solved, but by external forces (ie. it doesn't solves by itself). – Braiam Apr 9 '18 at 21:41
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    @Braiam: Therefore, the problem is irresolvable in scope of the application. If my computer tells me that there is no internet connection, it's referring to its own internet connection, not making an absolute statement about the entire world. Similarly, an application error message is always implicitily in scope of the application itself. Since the problem cannot be solved by the application, the application is therefore correct when it reports that it has encountered an irresolvable error. – Flater Apr 11 '18 at 11:00

Use the opposite word of resolvable which is unresolvable:

not able to be resolved or brought to a satisfactory resolution

Your example:

Your request has encountered a unresolvable problem, and will not be retried.

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    OP: it is resolvable. – lbf Apr 10 '18 at 13:25


Implying that there are external conditions which are combining with internal conditions to make continuation impossible.

Impasse implies problem, so your sentence would be

"Your request has encountered an impasse, and will not be retried [automatically]."


The word you are looking for might be intrinsic or inherent


belonging to a thing by its very nature


existing in someone or something as a permanent and inseparable element, quality, or attribute


Your request has encountered an intrinsic problem, and will not be retried.

Your request has encountered an inherent problem, and will not be retried.


How about "unsalvageable"? It implies that there is no use in retrying. This carries less of an implication than "fatal" or "terminal" that the problem's nature is of a kind where human intervention would not help either.

If you want to make the distinction stronger, I don't see that you can make do with a single word reliably, but something like "not automatically salvageable" will be quite explicit.


I suggest going with your gut instinct, which is

Essentially the opposite of intermittent or temporary.

Why not name the columns Temporary and Non-Temporary?

That gives users a clear understanding of what is in that column. While it might not be the prettiest English word, Non-Temporary is often used in official contexts such as Non-Temporary Storage in the US military, or Non-Temporary purpose of stay for a Netherlands Visa.


I suggest:

Your request is blocked and will not be retried.

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    I wouldn't recommend using this as it could easily be misread as 'has been blocked' which would make the user think the operation has been prevented for security reasons or that they are trying to do something they shouldn't... – Sean Burton Apr 10 '18 at 9:07

Given this part of the question:

The word I'm looking for should reflect a problem that will persist until external action is taken, but is not necessarily urgent.

I would choose exogenous, according to Oxford Dictionary Online:

Having an external cause or origin.

In your example:

"Your request has encountered an exogenous problem, and will not be retried."

Attribution: "Exogenous | Definition of Exogenous in English by Oxford Dictionaries." Oxford Dictionaries | English. Accessed April 09, 2018. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/exogenous.

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    As slightly simpler words getting a similar point across, external or extrinsic might also be good alternatives (since exogenous is unusual enough that many people might not understand it). – PLL Apr 10 '18 at 13:15
  • The problem with external and similar suggestions is that some external problems are temporary and some are {this}. – Jontia Apr 10 '18 at 13:20
  • I'd avoid exogenous simply because most people probably wont know what it means. Error messages should be explanatory, and should typically not require a user to pull out their dictionary to look up the word... – Doc Apr 10 '18 at 16:55

"Your request has encountered a problem beyond our scope, and will not be retried."

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