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[sil-uh-jiz-uh m] /ˈsɪl əˌdʒɪz əm/
Logic. an argument the conclusion of which is supported by two premises, of which one (major premise) contains the term (major term) that is the predicate of the conclusion, and the other (minor premise) contains the term (minor term) that is the subject of the conclusion; common to both premises is a term (middle term) that is excluded from the conclusion. A typical form is “All A is C; all B is A; therefore all B is C.”.
deductive reasoning.
an extremely subtle, sophisticated, or deceptive argument.
Origin of syllogism
1350-1400; < Latin syllogismus < Greek syllogismós, equivalent to syllog- (see syllogize) + -ismos -ism; replacing Middle English silogime < Old French < Latin, as above Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for syllogism
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • History has a logic of its own, he says; the scheme of its logic is not the syllogism, but the relation to values.

  • The first part answers to the term, the second to the proposition, the third to the syllogism.

    Sophist Plato
  • They do not decline a reinvigorating article of faith, because it is not a system, nor do they measure a deliverer by syllogism.

    Voltaire John Morley
  • “It was a syllogism,” replied the Dominie, taking the pannikin from his mouth.

    Jacob Faithful Captain Frederick Marryat
  • The intuition has its rights as well as the syllogism, and will always ultimately assert them.

    Nature Mysticism J. Edward Mercer
  • Put the proposed syllogism before him, and ask him what he thinks of the Conclusion.

    Symbolic Logic Lewis Carroll
  • He had before said this about the relation of the three terms in the syllogism, I. iv.

    Aristotle George Grote
  • Let us take the syllogism Darapti, which is universally accepted as valid.

    Symbolic Logic Lewis Carroll
  • In so far as the drama uplifts and edifies the audience, it does so, not by precept or by syllogism, but by emotional suggestion.

    The Theory of the Theatre Clayton Hamilton
British Dictionary definitions for syllogism


a deductive inference consisting of two premises and a conclusion, all of which are categorial propositions. The subject of the conclusion is the minor term and its predicate the major term; the middle term occurs in both premises but not the conclusion. There are 256 such arguments but only 24 are valid. Some men are mortal; some men are angelic; so some mortals are angelic is invalid, while some temples are in ruins; all ruins are fascinating; so some temples are fascinating is valid. Here fascinating, in ruins, and temples are respectively major, middle, and minor terms
a deductive inference of certain other forms with two premises, such as the hypothetical syllogism,if P then Q; if Q then R; so if P then R
a piece of deductive reasoning from the general to the particular
a subtle or deceptive piece of reasoning
Word Origin
C14: via Latin from Greek sullogismos, from sullogizesthai to reckon together, from sul-syn- + logizesthai to calculate, from logos a discourse
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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Word Origin and History for syllogism

late 14c., from Old French silogisme "a syllogism," from Latin syllogismus, from Greek syllogismos "a syllogism," originally "inference, conclusion, computation, calculation," from syllogizesthai "bring together, premise, conclude," literally "think together," from syn- "together" (see syn-) + logizesthai "to reason, count," from logos "a reckoning, reason" (see logos).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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