What is a formal noun that critically describes a proposal that has not been thought through and fails to consider challenge or consequences?

e.g., "Without explaining why your objective is difficult to achieve, and exploring its potential unintended consequences, the proposal is unconvincing, and comes across as a X."

My research has not turned up any appropriate single word. All single words I've come across imply nothing about the quality of the proposal, e.g., plan, idea, scheme, project, program, manifesto, motion, proposition, suggestion, action point, submission, trial balloon

  • Thank you for asking. Some information before we start will help us to give you the correct answer. Please edit to add details of research you’ve done, especially solutions you’ve already rejected, and why. Include the desired connotation, register (formality), part of speech, and context in which it is to be used. See: “How much research is needed? – EL&U Meta”.
    – MetaEd
    Nov 8, 2018 at 17:36
  • Edited to add connotation, register (formality), and part of speech; and I mentioned the research I've done. The question is not a learners' question -- I'm a native speaker and I've consulted with a number of other native speakers who cannot think of a single word Nov 8, 2018 at 17:41
  • 1
    If possible, add your research details, especially solutions you’ve already rejected, and why. This is what keeps us from going down false trails.
    – MetaEd
    Nov 8, 2018 at 17:43
  • Added research details Nov 8, 2018 at 17:47
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    What specifically is wrong with impractical, impracticable, unworkable, unfeasible, non-viable, etc.? Are you going to insist that any suggestion should unambiguously convey that the speaker thinks whoever proposed the idea is naive? Nov 8, 2018 at 18:24

5 Answers 5


A proposal which is not thorough enough typically has less chances to succeed and may consequently be considered a non-starter.

..., the proposal is unconvincing, and comes across as a non-starter."



1.1 informal A person or plan that has no chance of succeeding or being effective.
‘as a business proposition it's a non-starter’

‘Had either of these companies withheld that support, Apple's plan could easily have become a non-starter.’


Something "that has not been thought through and fails to consider challenge or consequences" is premature:

[Oxford Dictionaries]

1 Occurring or done before the usual or proper time; too early.
‘the sun can cause premature ageing’
[with infinitive] ‘it would be premature to draw any firm conclusions at this stage’

‘We should oppose these attempts to force through a premature consensus.’
‘Occasionally, the author appears to overreach his material to draw premature conclusions.’
‘To discard potential new directions for research at this early stage would be premature.’

This has the sense of something being enacted too hastily, without supporting evidence, and without due consideration.

  • This is a nice suggestion. Although I'm looking for a single noun that communicates the concept Nov 8, 2018 at 20:07
  • @Dr.Beeblebrox Are you saying you want a noun that means premature proposal? I know that in your question you say you want "a formal noun that critically describes a proposal," but it's mainly only adjectives and adverbs that offer descriptions. I'll be very interested to see if anybody can provide such a noun for something so specific. An adjective seemed tricky enough. :) Nov 8, 2018 at 20:18
  • I agree that it's tough! :) While I agree that adjectives and adverbs describe, single-word nouns can can imply a description: e.g., a mistake is a misguided action Nov 8, 2018 at 20:30
  • @Dr.Beeblebrox I'm going to go out on a limb and make the statement that no such noun exists in this case . . . Nov 8, 2018 at 20:33

I wonder if intent (or intention, but the latter is less formal) might fit the bill here, as it does not require any planning or analysis of the situation.

For instance, a Letter of Intent is used before more detailed proposals are put forward (see for instance https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letter_of_intent).


Considering the written proposal, an noun which can work here (typically with a qualifier) is: draft

"Without explaining why your objective is difficult to achieve, and exploring its potential unintended consequences, the proposal is unconvincing, and comes across as a (preliminary/first/initial/rough) draft."


1 A preliminary version of a piece of writing.

‘Maybe later today I'll post my edited version of the draft.’

‘Since a job description for this office could not be found, I generated a preliminary draft of such a document.’

‘The study was still undergoing substantive editing in order to incorporate the suggestions of the lawyers and public policy analysts who reviewed its preliminary drafts.’



shortsightedly adverb
shortsightedness noun

1 : lacking foresight

// The plan was dangerously shortsighted.

"Shortsighted." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 8 Nov. 2018.

But I wouldn't just drop shortsitedness into your sample statement. I would use shortsighted attempt there.

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