I've seen a single English word (in my dictionary) that means to ridicule those, especially researchers and scientists, who can only explain a problem or phenomenon... AFTER it has happened, i.e they cannot make predictions of it, but can provide some explanations that make sense. In some cases, the explanations may not match the nature of the problem (!)

I remember exactly that word has come across my life, but now I couldn't find it again. Tried several minutes searching the web with the word's meaning, but Google seems to misunderstand me and display some unrelated stuff.

EDIT: The guys that commented below gave me the correct answer and also some useful alternatives (I've written an acknowledgement below too.):

  • in/with hindsight is what I had been looking for.
  • to second-guess.
  • to be wise after the event, which has a close meaning.
  • Monday-morning quarterback (noun, phr.), which is a person who likes to second-guess.
  • l'esprit de l'escalier, a related French term used in English for the predicament of thinking of the perfect reply too late (Wikipedia).
  • 1
    Does the word in question criticize (verb) researchers and scientists, or describe (adj./noun) researchers and scientists?
    – user405662
    Commented Jan 2, 2022 at 16:46
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    In/with hindsight or post hoc?
    – DjinTonic
    Commented Jan 2, 2022 at 17:35
  • 4
    We often say that "hindsight is 20/20". A related phrase is "l'esprit de l'escalier", referring to the response that one thinks of after the relevant situation is over. Commented Jan 2, 2022 at 18:09
  • I cannot answer definitively but try looking for synonyms of "lampoon" and see if there is anything there that stimulates your memory.
    – Anton
    Commented Jan 2, 2022 at 18:59
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    Perhaps something that can be said or done only in retrospect.
    – DjinTonic
    Commented Jan 2, 2022 at 19:49

1 Answer 1


Strictly speaking you should show us how you'd like to use the word or phrase. I hope you'll edit the question and share this.

If I assume that whatever these researchers are observing is inherently hard to predict, then you could use

nondeterministic or non-predictive

Here's what I found at Yourdictionary.com:

  • Non-predictive. Referring to the inability to objectively predict an outcome or result of a process due to lack of knowledge of a cause and effect relationship or the inability to know initial conditions.

  • In telecommunications switching and routing, the unpredictability of a path between nodes. See also node, path, route, and switch.

  • In local area networks (LANs) a contentious medium access control (MAC) technique that does not allow a node to predict when it will be allowed to gain access to the network. Carrier sense multiple access (CSMA), which is used in 802.3 Ethernets, is non-deterministic. See also 802.3, CSMA, deterministic, LAN, MAC, and node.

  • (computer science) Exhibiting nondeterminism; involving choices between indistinguishable possibilities. Nondeterministic bottom-up tree automaton recognize the class of regular tree languages.

  • These words describe the (almost) absolute inability to predict the situation. But I want to find some words that describe or even criticize those who always tell the solution after the situation has taken place. Anyway, thank you for your effort. I've appended some suggestions to my original question. Commented Jan 4, 2022 at 2:41
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    @VuTungLam - I'd still like to see a sample sentence or two showing how you'd like to use it. Maybe A: How was the seminar yesterday? B: Just the usual armchair analysis, only describing what happened after the fact. Commented Jan 4, 2022 at 6:25

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