counterfactual

[ koun-ter-fak-choo-uhl ]
/ ˌkaʊn tərˈfæk tʃu əl /

noun Logic.

a conditional statement the first clause of which expresses something contrary to fact, as “If I had known.”

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“I do believe that the buck stops here, that I cannot rely upon public opinion polls to tell me what is right. I do believe that right makes might and that if I am wrong, 10 angels swearing I was right would make no difference.”

Origin of counterfactual

First recorded in 1945–50; counter- + factual

OTHER WORDS FROM counterfactual

coun·ter·fact, nouncoun·ter·fac·tu·al·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for counterfactual

British Dictionary definitions for counterfactual

counterfactual
/ (ˌkauntəˈfæktʃʊəl) logic /

adjective

expressing what has not happened but could, would, or might under differing conditions

noun

a conditional statement in which the first clause is a past tense subjunctive statement expressing something contrary to fact, as inif she had hurried she would have caught the bus
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