Definition of ad hoc
- The decisions were made ad hoc.
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Ad hoc literally means "for this" in Latin, and in English this almost always means "for this specific purpose". Issues that come up in the course of a project often require immediate, ad hoc solutions. An ad hoc investigating committee is authorized to look into a matter of limited scope. An ad hoc ruling by an athletic council is intended to settle a particular case, and is not meant to serve as a model for later rulings. If an organization deals with too many things on an ad hoc basis, it may mean someone hasn't been doing enough planning.
First Known Use: 1639See Words from the same year
The mayor appointed an ad hoc committee to study the project.
We had to make some ad hoc changes to the plans.
We'll hire more staff on an ad hoc basis.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ad hoc.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
ad-lib, extemporaneous, extemporary, extempore, impromptu, improvisational, improvised, off-the-cuff, offhand, offhanded, snap, spur-of-the-moment, unconsidered, unplanned, unpremeditated, unprepared, unrehearsed, unstudied;
: formed or used for a special purpose
: made or done without planning because of an immediate need
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