counterfactual

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

noun Logic.

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

Nearby words

  1. counterearth,
  2. countereconomy,
  3. counterespionage,
  4. counterexample,
  5. counterextension,
  6. counterfeit,
  7. counterfeiting,
  8. counterfoil,
  9. counterforce,
  10. counterfort

Origin of counterfactual

First recorded in 1945–50; counter- + factual

Related formscoun·ter·fact, nouncoun·ter·fac·tu·al·ly, adverb

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


British Dictionary definitions for counterfactually

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

Word Origin and History for counterfactually

counterfactual

adj.

1946, from counter- + factual.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper