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[saw-rahy-teez, soh-] /sɔˈraɪ tiz, soʊ-/
noun, Logic.
a form of argument having several premises and one conclusion, capable of being resolved into a chain of syllogisms, the conclusion of each of which is a premise of the next.
Origin of sorites
1545-55; < Latin sōrītēs < Greek sōreítēs literally, heaped, piled up, derivative of sōrós a heap
Related forms
[saw-rit-i-kuh l, soh-] /sɔˈrɪt ɪ kəl, soʊ-/ (Show IPA),
soritic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for sorites
Historical Examples
  • The sorites uses several middle terms by which the predicate of the last proposition is connected with the first subject.

    A Logic Of Facts George Jacob Holyoake
  • Two modes of abbreviating a Polysyllogism, are usually discussed, the Epicheirema and the sorites.

    Logic Carveth Read
  • Among these logical puzzles are the following: sorites, the heap trick.

  • Now the rest is concluded by a sorites of foure degrees: As yr, is unto yi: so by the 12.

    The Way To Geometry Peter Ramus
British Dictionary definitions for sorites


  1. a polysyllogism in which the premises are arranged so that intermediate conclusions are omitted, being understood, and only the final conclusion is stated
  2. a paradox of the form: these few grains of sand do not constitute a heap, and the addition of a single grain never makes what is not yet a heap into a heap: so no matter how many single grains one adds it never becomes a heap
Derived Forms
soritical (sɒˈrɪtɪkəl), soritic, adjective
Word Origin
C16: via Latin from Greek sōreitēs, literally: heaped, from sōros a heap
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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