Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


A.Word.A.Day

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  


Home

Today's Word

Yesterday's Word

Archives

FAQ



Mar 14, 2012
This week's theme
18-letter words to mark Wordsmith.org's octodecennial

This week's words
preantepenultimate
gedankenexperiment
reductio ad absurdum
plurisignification
princesse lointaine

Discuss
Feedback
RSS/XML
Bookmark and Share Facebook Twitter Digg MySpace Bookmark and Share
A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

reductio ad absurdum

PRONUNCIATION:
(ri-DUHK-tee-o ad ab-SUHR-duhm)

MEANING:
noun: Demonstration of the falsity of a premise by showing an absurdity to which it would logically lead.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin reductio ad absurdum (reduction to the absurd), from reductio (reduction) + ad (to) + Latin absurdum (absurdity). Earliest documented use: 1659.

USAGE:
"Their reductio ad absurdum: why not just bypass the blog, too, and move right on to 140 characters about Shermn's Mrch?"
Matt Richtel; Blogs vs. Term Papers; The New York Times; Jan 20, 2012.

"I'm sorry, but all these 'life begins at conception' arguments are sheer nonsense. Killing a cluster of cells that has the potential of becoming human life is not the same as killing a human being. Here is a reductio ad absurdum argument for all the extreme pro-lifers. With modern cloning technology, a simple skin cell is a potential baby. Where do pro-life people stand on removing a wart or a mole? Are dermatologists the latest in the long list of baby killers?"
Dialogue is Needed on Abortion; St. Petersburg Times (Florida); May 20, 2009.

See more usage examples of reductio ad absurdum in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
A sound mind in a sound body, is a short but full description of a happy state in this world. -John Locke, philosopher (1632-1704)

A.Word.A.Day by email:

Subscribe

"The most welcomed, most enduring piece of daily mass e-mail in cyberspace."

The New York Times

Sponsored by:

Give the Gift of Words

Share the magic of words. Send a gift subscription of A.Word.A.Day.

Anu on Words:
Writer Magazine
Globe & Mail

Interact:

Bulletin board
Wordsmith Talk

Moderated Chat
Wordsmith Chat

Readers' Voice
AWADmail

Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 2014 Wordsmith