I'm looking for a word to name an item that is outside a set tolerance. For example, I have to place a signpost within 3 feet of a building but I put it 4 feet away. That signpost is outside the tolerance, it goes over the allowed threshold, it is a(n)...

I was thinking it's "an outlier" or "a deviant" but those don't seem to quite meet the case, and a thesaurus search didn't turn up anything else.

It's for a term in a software dialog, so I'm looking for something short and sweet. Like "Process Deviants (Y/N)" - but not deviant because a) it sounds stupid, and b) it doesn't imply over a tolerance limit (which is important here).

Any suggestions? I'm hoping that there is such a word and that someone knows it!

closed as off-topic by Robusto, David, Hot Licks, Edwin Ashworth, JJJ Jul 7 at 7:10

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  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question because the naming of software artifacts is specifically off-topic for this site. – Robusto Jul 5 at 21:45
  • aberration deviation eccentricity exception oddity anomaly deviance irregularity quirk bohemian dissenter dissident eccentric heretic iconoclast maverick nonconformist original outsider – Hot Licks Jul 6 at 0:07
  • Why do none of the easily identified synonyms suit you??? – Hot Licks Jul 6 at 0:08
  • Why not say out of range? – Boondoggle Jul 6 at 18:32

It looks like you're seeking a noun, but if you're willing to nominalize a verb, you could choose to use the word breach.

Per OED definition 1.b. of breach as a verb:

figurative; spec. in Financial and Stock Exchange jargon, to go beyond (above or below) (a figure)

A citation in the OED from The Economist presents a good example of its use to mean "breaking over a tolerance or threshold

1984 Economist 10 Mar. 52/2 So far, Mr Nakasone has not dared to breach the 1% mark.

Breach is also a noun. The OED does not explicitly denote a noun meaning for "breach" that means "an instance of breaking over a tolerance or threshold," but since the term is used this way as a verb frequently in technical fields, the meaning would be clear if you were to write something along the line of "Process breaches."

It is worth noting that as a noun, the word tends to mean a kind of "breaking." Hence, "data breaches" is a common term in the information security community. In the case of this example it would be taken to indicate that the item has "broken" out of the tolerance level.

  • Breach? Yes, that could work. I'll perhaps ponder a bit more, but this is the best so far. Thanks. – Mark Ireland Jul 5 at 21:46

I know it means something different to you, since you're a software developer (like me), but this sounds like an exception:

a case to which a rule does not apply

(source: Merriam-Webster)

A reasonable alternative would be to adjectivize it, e.g. "Process exceptional cases".


noncomplier works for this.

Significant noncomplier (SNC) means a water system that is violating or has violated department rules and the violations may create or have created an imminent or a significant risk to human health.


A habitual noncomplier (HNC, also known as an egregious repeater) is an individual with a history or pattern of noncompliance—a person who serially and deliberately does not comply—even after compliance intervention.


  • 1
    What if it will compile, but function checks when you try to run it? – Hot Licks Jul 6 at 0:09
  • @HotLicks This tempts me to actually post my opossums/apothegms comment under one of Sven's recent answers. – Phil Sweet Jul 6 at 0:49

If you're referring to physically manufactured things that don't meet the intended specifications for them, a good word might be defect (or defective).

Some relevant definitions from the OED:

  1. a. An imperfection in a person or thing; a shortcoming, a failing; a fault, flaw, or abnormality.

  2. The quality, state, or fact of being imperfect; defectiveness, faultiness.

If the problem is one of the use of an object, rather than its inherent characteristics, another term related to one you've been considering might be more appropriate. A deviation is a difference from a desired state. Here are the relevant OED definitions:

  1. a. The action of deviating; turning aside from a path or track; swerving, deflection.

  2. a. Divergence from the straight line, from the mean, or standard position; variation, deflection; the amount of this

  3. figurative. a. Divergence from any course, method, rule, standard, etc.; with a and plural, an instance of this.

Another idea is to pick a word related to the rules that are being broken. If its a law or regulation you're not obeying when you put the sign four feet from the building instead of three, you might call it a violation. If it's a contract you're not fulfilling the terms of, you might call it a breach (of the contract).

Or you might pick a term related to the specific topic you're dealing with. If your software is dealing specifically with sign placement issues, you might want to use invalid placement rather than using a more general term that might be less clear in your specific situation.


Transgressor might work.

dictionary.com gives the verb definition

verb (used with object) to pass over or go beyond (a limit, boundary, etc.): to transgress bounds of prudence.



From the second meaning of infringement (Collins):

(variable noun) An infringement of a law or rule is the act of breaking it or disobeying it.


Process Infringements? (Y/N)

or perhaps qualified

Process Threshold Infringements? (Y/N)


Process Tolerance Infringements? (Y/N)


A near-synonym of infringement but perhaps harsher and in greater need of qualification, e.g. threshold violation or tolerance violation. From the first meaning of violation (Collins):

(noun) infringement or breach, as of a law, rule, right, etc.


Process Threshold Violations? (Y/N)


Process Tolerance Violations? (Y/N)

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