The term ad hoc can convey a lack of rigor, for example one of the synonyms is to improvise.

Are there synonyms that do not convey this lack of rigor? For example, 'ad hoc' is used to refer to reviewers of scientific manuscripts; the Journal of Immunology states

AD HOC REVIEWERS: The Journal of Immunology would like to thank the many scientists who reviewed manuscripts in a conscientious and objective manner. The continued high quality of The JI depends upon the dedicated service of all of these individuals.`

Here is an example of a use that I would like to replace 'ad hoc' with a word that does not have casual connotations:

When I want a particular type of widget, I go to the store and get one. If the particular widget that I need is unavailable, I create one ad hoc.

closed as not constructive by FumbleFingers, James Waldby - jwpat7, simchona, Barrie England, kiamlaluno Nov 19 '11 at 15:26

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 3
    Can you give a little more context? Like maybe a sentence where this new word would fit logically? What are the features of ad hoc that you want to keep? Have you looked up synonyms already for 'ad hoc' (and if so, what are they and why don't they work)? – Mitch Nov 18 '11 at 22:09
  • 7
    Ad hoc simply means "for this" — an ad hoc solution is one that is cobbled together for expediency to meet a particular need at a particular time. It is not expected to be durable, robust, or elegant. It is not the product of exhaustive research or rigorous (your word) application of principles. It sounds as if you're looking for an entirely different word, not a synonym of ad hoc. – Robusto Nov 18 '11 at 22:17
  • Seat-of-the-pants comes to mind for me as one possible solution to your question. For example, "the President successfully runs this non-profit organization by the seat of her pants," can simultaneously convey both rigor (effectiveness) and improvising (a lack of planning). – Randolf Richardson Nov 19 '11 at 0:12
  • In lack of any further explanation from OP, I'm voting to close this question as "not constructive". Although not exactly concommitant, ad-hoc and lacking rigor are so closely bound up it's impossible to see what OP wants to express here. – FumbleFingers Nov 19 '11 at 1:10
  • 1
    @Randolf Richardson: Rigour has quite a few meanings, but "effectiveness" isn't one of them. Probably what OP intends are senses 4 and 5 strictness in judgment or conduct; logical validity or accuracy. – FumbleFingers Nov 19 '11 at 1:15

Ad Hoc means, literally, "for this". It is used to signify that something was done for a special purpose, without general application. So an ad hoc committee would be disbanded after serving its purpose, rather than sticking around and doing the same job over and over. An ad hoc reviewer is someone who reviews an article but is not normally doing that job, and is only doing it on a temporary basis or to provide a specific expertise. There is no implication of inferiority or makeshiftness to this usage of the word.

An ad hoc technical solution is one that was specially designed for a certain purpose. It might be makeshift and improvised, or it might be strictly single-purpose. Consider your example sentence:

When I want a particular type of widget, I go to the store and get one. If the particular widget that I need is unavailable, I create one ad hoc.

In this sentence, the widget is obviously created for your particular device. If this widget is not meant to be used on any other device, it is ad hoc. If it is makeshift, it is ad hoc. However, if you want to avoid the potential for confusion as to the reliability of your widget, you could just leave out the word ad hoc altogether.

When I want a particular type of widget, I go to the store and get one. If the particular widget that I need is unavailable, I create one.

Or, you can create one specifically, or specially, for your purpose:

... I create one specifically for this purpose.


None of "one-off", "bespoke", "custom", or "made to order" are exact synonyms to my mind, but they all convey a (potentially) one-of-a-kind, for this need nature.

Nor do any require "rigor" per se, but "bespoke" implies a degree of skill or craftsmanship, and "custom" and "made to order" leave room for it as well.


"Made to measure" is another related term for something custom and well-made. It implies quality, craft and a perfect fit for your needs.

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