[koun-ter-fak-choo-uh l]

noun Logic.

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

Origin of counterfactual

First recorded in 1945–50; counter- + factual
Related formscoun·ter·fact, nouncoun·ter·fac·tu·al·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for counterfactual

incorrect, untrue, untruthful, wrong, false

Examples from the Web for counterfactual

Contemporary Examples of counterfactual

British Dictionary definitions for counterfactual



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


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

Word Origin and History for counterfactual

1946, from counter- + factual.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper