I'm looking for a synonym that implies mainly unsubstantiated.

This synonym is going to be used in the following sentence.

How a _______ industry dictates the most unique experience.

By 'mainly unsubstantiated' I mean an industry that is primarily built on 'unfounded claims', e.g. the beauty industry, where many claims are hardly backed scientifically. However, I'm not talking about the beauty industry.

It would need to be a single word, and it needs to precede "industry" in the sentence.

Words such as:

  • fallacious
  • delusive
  • deceitful
  • deluding

are considered as being 'too strong'.

Maybe a single word for claims-making such as in a 'claims-making industry'

Maybe I will be going with conjecturing as in 'How a conjecturing industry dictates the most unique experience.'

  • 1
    How an industry lacking thorough scientific grounding dictates...... I'm not sure you will find just one word for this.
    – Smock
    Jun 11, 2019 at 12:25
  • You are saying it's not about beauty industry, so which industry are we talking about?
    – Jan
    Jun 11, 2019 at 15:13
  • 1
    None of your example words mean mainly unsubstantiated; they all imply intent to mislead rather than simply not providing enough evidence for something. Jun 11, 2019 at 19:04
  • @johann_ka If the word you're looking for must be an adjective, then add that detail to your question. (Sometimes people will provide a word but rephrase a provided sentence so that it fits syntactically.) Jun 11, 2019 at 19:09
  • 1
    Given the structure of that sentence, industry would normally be preceded by an adjective I think you need to rethink this.That sentence does not match your idea at all.
    – Lambie
    Jun 11, 2019 at 19:37

5 Answers 5



Applied to your example, it might be seen as a stretch because of connotation. Usually, it is used when referring to a made up, "false" accusation. But, literally, and from these definitions and examples here, it can include anything false. Using it in that "counter-connotative" way might be considered "creative", which is part of good command of the English language.

Consider the following...

Merriam-Webster: trumped up

1 : to concoct especially with intent to deceive : fabricate, invent

2 archaic : to cite as support for an action or claim

Example in a sentence:

a wife who was always trumping up little projects for her husband to do around the house

Oxford: trumped-up (American English)

not true; invented


Hyped = deceptive, put-on, promotional publicity of an extravagant or contrived kind (Merriam-Webster); advertised and discussed in newspapers, on television, etc. a lot in order to attract everyone's interest (Cambridge Dictionary)

How the hyped industry dictates the most unique experience.

As a consequence, all shares of the hyped industry of the era were rising almost continuously. (Anatomy of Stock Market Bubbles)

Unconventional = not bound by or conforming to convention, rule, or precedent; free from conventionality (Dictionary.com)

How the unconventional industry dictates the most unique experience.

And hopes to be a role model for many girls and women who want to work in a traditionally unconventional industry. (Observenow.com)

  • thank you, but 'hype' doesn't seem to fit well; it is too temporal.
    – JoHKa
    Jun 11, 2019 at 22:26
  • It needs to be a modifier so as to fit the OP sentence. Change your answer to include: "hyped-up" ;-)
    – Jesse
    Jun 11, 2019 at 23:58
  • @johann_ka What about "unconventional?"
    – Jan
    Jun 12, 2019 at 7:33
  • 1
    @JesseSteele, indeed, "hyped" could work. "Hyped up" means excited.
    – Jan
    Jun 12, 2019 at 7:34
  • "Trumped-up" was what I wanted!
    – Jesse
    Jun 14, 2019 at 12:29

How about pseudo-; as in pseudoscientific, pseudointellectual, etc. depending on the nature of the industry. "Homeopathy is a pseudoscientific industry." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudoscience)

This doesn't sound too strong, whilst clearly indicating that there is no true scientific backing.

  • Thank you, Showsni. The industry isn't 'pseudo', it is a real industry, and like the health and beauty business there are many claims made that are hardly substantiated.
    – JoHKa
    Jun 11, 2019 at 22:28
  • @johann_ka The “pseudo” doesn’t apply to the business, it applies to the “science”. So if, for example, a health supplement industry was making some claims, but supported them with bad science, it might make sense to use pseudoscientific.
    – ColleenV
    Jun 12, 2019 at 14:40

If it must be a single neutral word, I think the word speculative might work if you are describing something that could be true but is yet to be proven.

engaged in, expressing, or based on conjecture rather than knowledge.

However, be aware that speculative has a different meaning when pertaining to business and investment in particular. Describing an investment as "speculative" means it is "high risk, high reward", so if you are discussing finances then this would be a confusing word choice.

It probably also doesn't fit well if you are describing a business based around the supernatural. In that case I would use the word faith-based.

  • Faith-based tends to describe something religious, not supernatural.
    – ColleenV
    Jun 12, 2019 at 14:37

Is the word you are looking for "subjective"? This is somewhat neutral sounding, and yet conveys the idea that the benefits of this "industry" are all in somebody's head.

  • the adjective wouldn't need to convey that it benefits this 'industry' (although, that is a logical consequence, I believe).
    – JoHKa
    Jun 11, 2019 at 14:24

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