What is a word to use for a set of events that are reported with no context in terms of date or time, or frequency? The speaker claims, "someone told us you did X", but we don't know if they're claiming this happened one time or fifty times, and whether it was days ago, months ago, years ago or spread over some other span of time.

Example: The speaker's accusation to my friend that "someone told us you did this," was, I assured her, of limited value given that it was unattributed, [unquantified], [undated] and [_______].

  • Very often such statements are made—and they don't need to include specifics in order to be meaningful or of value. It's also not clear what you mean when you say the speaker's accusation. Do you have a particular context in mind beyond simple statements? Last, in your example sentence, you already use undated (as well as unquantified). What other type of word are you thinking of that hasn't already been covered? – Jason Bassford May 15 '19 at 23:17
  • It's difficult to provide context consistent with my friend's privacy concerns but let's just say the speaker is her employer, and the "this" something that calls qualifications into question. As for "undated," I bracketed it because I feel like it's ok but not sufficient -- the issue is not that the speaker didn't say, "someone told us this March 15," it's that he's refused to give any context for timing whatsoever -- could have been last week, or a year ago. Thanks for the reply! – Aging Atty Mike May 16 '19 at 1:47
  • This is sounding more like something around a specific incident, maybe a request for some kind of argumentative phrasing, and perhaps not something about English in general. Note that there is absolutely no reason to say anything about something real. You can easily make up something completely fictional in order to explain the type of word you're looking for. Why does timing matter at all? I still don't understand a context in which it would—aside from a legal issue or something similar. Are you looking for a word involving frequency specifically? Or a word involving details in general? – Jason Bassford May 16 '19 at 3:27
  • The context was not specified, or taken out of context, with the context not even specified. – aparente001 May 16 '19 at 5:06

Vague, defined by Google’s dictionary, would be a good choice:

of uncertain, indefinite, or unclear character or meaning. "many patients suffer vague symptoms" synonyms: indistinct, indefinite, indeterminate, unclear; More thinking or communicating in an unfocused or imprecise way. "he had been very vague about his activities" synonyms: imprecise, inexact, rough, approximate, inexplicit, nonspecific, loose, ill-defined, generalized, ambiguous, equivocal, hazy, woolly;

| improve this answer | |

'Unattributed' is certainly useful. Uncorroborated, unsubstantiated or unsupported suggests a weak argument, lacking evidence. Insubstantial has more gravitas than flimsy; but flimsy is more disparaging.

| improve this answer | |

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.