Is there a more formal term for a “hand-waving explanation”

I wish to describe an explanation, which is broadly correct, but which glosses over some potentially important details.

The nearest term I can think of is “hand-waving explanation”. Is there something more formal I could use instead?


Though not familiar with your “hand-waving explanation,” I think I know where you’re going with this. There are any number of possibilities:

  • On the face of it . . .. (In other words, the explanation sounds good initially, but given a closer look, maybe “not so much!”)

  • A prima facie explanation (Again, an explanation which upon closer inspection may have some flaws. It satisfies certain conditions but not necessarily all.)

  • An ill-considered explanation

  • A rush to judgment (This is an explanation for, say, the guilt of someone, before all the facts have been gathered, inspected, and verified.)

  • An interim explanation

  • An unsubstantiated explanation

  • An incomplete, inadequate, superficial, surface, incomplete, or partial explanation

  • An ostensible explanation, but upon closer examination . . ..

  • A cursory explanation

  • An explanation which at first blush seems adequate, but upon closer examination . . ..

  • An unthought out explanation

  • An ad hoc explanation

These should at least get you started, I hope!

Source : Link , Question Author : DaveP , Answer Author : rhetorician

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