Ad hoc is a Latin phrase meaning literally 'to this'. In English, it generally signifies a solution designed for a specific problem or task, non- generalizable, and not intended to be adapted to other purposes (compare with '' a priori''). Common examples are ad hoc committees and commissions created at the national or international level for a specific task. In other fields, the term could refer, for example, to a military unit created under special circumstances (see '' task force''), a tailor-made suit, a handcrafted
network protocol A communication protocol is a system of rules that allows two or more entities of a communications system to transmit information via any kind of variation of a physical quantity. The protocol defines the rules, syntax, semantics and synchronizat ...
(e.g., ad hoc network), a temporary banding together of geographically-linked franchise locations (of a given national brand) to issue advertising coupons, or a purpose-specific
equation In mathematics, an equation is a statement that asserts the equality (mathematics), equality of two Expression (mathematics), expressions, which are connected by the equals sign "=". The word ''equation'' and its cognates in other languages may h ...
. Ad hoc can also be an adjective describing the temporary, provisional, or improvised methods to deal with a particular problem, the tendency of which has given rise to the noun ''adhocism''.


Style guides disagree on whether Latin phrases like ad hoc should be italicized. The trend is not to use italics. For example, ''
The Chicago Manual of Style ''The Chicago Manual of Style'' (abbreviated in writing as ''CMOS'' or ''CMS'', or sometimes as ''Chicago'') is a style guide for American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English ...
'' recommends that familiar Latin phrases that are listed in the ''
Webster's Dictionary ''Webster's Dictionary'' is any of the Dictionary, dictionaries edited by Noah Webster in the early nineteenth century, and numerous related or unrelated dictionaries that have adopted the Webster's name. "Webster's" has become a genericized tra ...
'', including "ad hoc", not be italicized.


science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxonomy (general), organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the u ...
philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, language. Such ques ...
, ad hoc means the addition of extraneous hypotheses to a
theory A theory is a reason, rational type of abstraction, abstract thinking about a phenomenon, or the results of such thinking. The process of contemplative and rational thinking is often associated with such processes as observational study or research ...
to save it from being falsified. Ad hoc hypotheses compensate for anomalies not anticipated by the theory in its unmodified form. Scientists are often skeptical of
scientific theories A scientific theory is an explanation of an aspect of the natural science, natural world and universe that can be reproducibility, repeatedly tested and verified in accordance with the scientific method, using accepted protocol (science), protocol ...
that rely on frequent, unsupported adjustments to sustain them. Ad hoc hypotheses are often characteristic of pseudoscience, pseudo-scientific subjects such as homeopathy.

In the military

In the military, ad hoc units are created during unpredictable situations, when the cooperation between different units is suddenly needed for fast action, or from remnants of previous units which have been overrun or otherwise whittled down.


The term ''ad hoc networking'' typically refers to a system of network elements that combine to form a network requiring little or no planning.

See also

* Ad hoc testing * ''Ad infinitum'' * ''Ad libitum'' * Democracy * House rule * Russell's teapot * Inductive reasoning * Confirmation bias * Cherry picking


Further reading


External links

* {{Wiktionary-inline, ad hoc, ad hoc Latin words and phrases