I am trying to find the words to describe a situation in which plans fail or are destined to fail because of circumstance rather than a lack of merit. More specifically, the imagery I'm working towards is meant to evoke growth, development, potential, and life. By contrast and absence I would make perceptible what the non-development, non-growth, still-born outcome would be. I'd prefer to stay clear of the dead baby imagery in favour of imagery of a passive or weak state from which the failure originates. I believe I've heard something the British have to describe this. Thanks!

edited: clarification

  • Can you give us an example of a plan like this. Could be a famous canceled project or a more generic example. – hszmv Feb 26 '20 at 19:28
  • By way of adding some humour of my own, I'd say that breaking away from my efforts writing the piece I am working on would be a good example of how plans may fail, though not for lack of merit. For clarification, the kind of situation I am writing about is pre-failure and is more a human situation rather than one that has been made dead or redundant by process. – vorga2420 Feb 26 '20 at 19:48
  • Again... we're gonna need specific details... possibly specific to the industry you are in that is using the term (For example, any time you read about someone leaving a film or tv project due to "Creative Differences" it's basically Hollywood for "he and his boss had a fight and he lost."). I don't need a generic definition of the failure, I need a real world example. – hszmv Feb 27 '20 at 14:26
  • Thanks for your help, hszmv but we are talking at cross-purposes. I'm going to continue with the body of what I am working on. Thanks for your time. – vorga2420 Feb 28 '20 at 0:35
  • I'm not sure it fits all OP's requirements (maybe not even any of them) but the expression half-baked seems worth considering. – High Performance Mark Mar 1 '20 at 16:30

'Dead on arrival' is a common term to me, or 'not meant to be'.

  • Doesn't fit. But I've used that as an element to sort of slingshot around the group of concepts it represents, and where they relate to the timing of my placement within the piece of the phrase I am looking for. – vorga2420 Feb 26 '20 at 19:58

So some terms might be jargon, but my work uses "Overcome by Events" or OBE to describe a part of the project that was cancelled because the problem it was set up to fix had been solved prior to implementation of the events. To add a bit of humor, my first group at work occasionally called it "Overcome by Elephants" after our project lead (who used the acronym) had to explain the words behind the letters at a meeting while he was in coffee withdraw. He forgot what "E" stood for in his haze and because of such haze, he blurted out the first word beginning with E he could think of.

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