Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


About | Media | Search | Contact  


Today's Word

Yesterday's Word



A.Word.A.Day--ipse dixit

Pronunciation RealAudio

ipse dixit (IP-see DIK-sit) noun

An assertion without supporting proof.

[From Latin, literally, he himself said it.]

The term ipse dixit is the Latin equivalent of the Greek autos epha, referring to Pythagoras, as in, The master (Pythagoras) said it so it must be true and no proof is needed. In our modern world, this has many forms:

Child: Why do I have to go to bed at eight every day?
Parent: Because I said so.

Employee: Why do we have to do this project if it's going to be scrapped anyway?
Boss: Because I said so.

"The state had relied so heavily upon the ipse dixit that 'it is a nuisance because I say it is,' the Supreme Court could not as a matter of law say whether a nuisance in fact existed."
A Two-Front Battle For Property Rights; Christian Science Monitor (Boston, Massachusetts); Sep 18, 1992.

"Nor was it what the framers of the Indiana Constitution intended. Even though the state held a constitutional convention in 1850-51 to repair what even back then was a Sargasso Sea of ipse dixits, nobody paid any attention."
Ruth Holladay; Ruth Holladay Column; The Indianapolis Star (Indiana); Jul 29, 2003.

This week's theme: terms from Latin.


The greatest minds are capable of the greatest vices as well as of the greatest virtues. -Rene Descartes, philosopher and mathematician (1596-1650)

We need your help

Help us continue to spread the magic of words to readers everywhere


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

© 1994-2023 Wordsmith