I am trying to say in good quality English that a certain idea which was implemented is currently used way beyond the scope it was intended for. It was a gap-filler which we are now basing our entire solution and this is going to be unsustainable.

I am trying to write something like "This architecture has exceeded it's original ____ and needs major refactoring" I know there's a word exactly for this... I keep coming up with "premise" or "precinct" (I know the word I am looking for sounds something like these, not saying they are applicable).

I've already used "purpose" a lot, in a different context, and I need to avoid using purpose for this statement to prevent confusion.

  • "Its original " not "it's original".
    – fev
    Commented Jun 22, 2023 at 11:14
  • If you drop the compliment "architecture" and call it a substitute, quick fix, workaround, stop-gap, you are set up to follow up with "time to send it packing." Commented Jun 22, 2023 at 11:26

5 Answers 5


The word remit can be used in a broadened sense, applied to inanimate concepts / devices designed to fulfil a purpose.


  1. [countable noun] [usually singular ...]

Someone's remit is the area of activity which they are expected to deal with



  • Frame has embodied the ship's remit to save life and ease suffering, both through her own actions and the leadership of her able team. [Forces.net]


  • However, as I've pointed out at some length, changing a device's remit to be a great Internet browser with a huge display does usually come with some compromises, namely price, size ... [Steve Litchfield; All About Symbian]


  • This is a new style of guitar for Córdoba ... finding new styles of playing is very much in tune with the instrument’s remit. With the EQ flat and the under-saddle transducer in play, there’s detail, with a particularly noticeable attack when played with the pick .... [Music Radar]

So in this sense, 'remit' is synonymous with 'design/ed purpose':

  • This architecture has exceeded its original remit and so would benefit from major refactoring.
  • 1
    that was the word, thank you!
    – DraxDomax
    Commented Jun 22, 2023 at 12:29
  • 2
    A related word is ambit.
    – user405662
    Commented Jun 22, 2023 at 13:21
  • Y’all British? That’s not a word I’ve ever heard used in this sense. Commented Jun 22, 2023 at 13:59
  • 1
    Ah yes, you quoted Collins — not Webster as attributed. Here’s Webster: 1 British : an area of responsibility or authority—usually singular. Commented Jun 22, 2023 at 14:02
  • Thanks, TH. Refreshing to see that people do check. // Yes; AHD has [mainly British]. I think the 'area/extent of authority/responsibility' sense is the default nounal sense in the UK. Commented Jun 22, 2023 at 14:14

Maybe scope could cover this:

the extent of the area or subject matter that something deals with or to which it is relevant. (OxfordL via Google)

Utility is another option:

the quality of being useful, or the degree to which something is useful (Longman)


I've already used "purpose" a lot, in a different context, and I need to avoid using purpose for this statement to prevent confusion.

I suggest:

This architecture has exceeded it's original raison d'être and needs major refactoring.

Raison d'être, raison d'être (n.)

Reason or justification for existence M-W

A reason or purpose for the existence of a person or thing [OED]

(Dictionaries and style guides differ on italicization.)

The raison d'être and the challenge of symbolic languages are to construct highly sophisticated software which would be too complicated or unmanageable if written in other languages. A.C. Kakas and F. Sadri; Computation Logic (2003)

First of all, since the whole point of having such an institution is to secure, in the best way possible, the enjoyment of fundamental rights, a legislature that compromises those rights without a morally acceptable trade in security will exceed its justificatory bounds and lose its raison d'être. John Kleinig; Ends and Means in Policing (2019)

One of the objectives was to give inventors' certificates the same status in the Paris Convention as have patents in that Convention. With the abolition—shortly before the Soviet Union ceased to exist—of inventors' certificates in that country, this objective of the planned revision lost its raison d'être. WIPO and A. Bogsch; The First Twenty Five years of the World Intellectual Property Organization (1992)

Knowledge of the substantive solutions reached by the courts of each country cannot be sufficient. To conduct his comparison work, he needs to know the spirit and the raison d'être of each solution. Eduoard Lambert (1900) in E. Lees and J. Viñuales; Oxford Handbook of Comparative Environmental Law (2019)


How about recasting the sentence as follows?:

This architecture has overshot its mark and...

Per The Farlex Dictionary of Idioms:

overshoot the mark

To pass the intended target, typically due to poor judgment.

A: "Did I overshoot the mark?"

B: "Yeah, I would back up so that your car isn't sticking out of the parking space!" I think we overshot the mark with our estimate.

overshoot the mark


Purpose is not jargon, not a technical term invested with a precise meaning, and so using "purpose" multiple times in different contexts will not cause confusion. Don't create imaginary problems for yourself like that. And don't paint yourself into a corner syntactically as you're doing with

this architecture ... has exceeded it's [sic] original ______".

where you're looking for some noun that will supposedly add perfect clarity to your sentence. Consider introducing some adjectives! Adjectives are your friends.

You could say:

This architecture has outlived its original narrow purpose as a stop-gap solution for [x] and must be refactored in order to address a broader range of problems.

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