reductio ad absurdum

[ ri-duhk-tee-oh ad ab-sur-duh m, -zur-, -shee-oh ]
/ rɪˈdʌk tiˌoʊ ˈæd æbˈsɜr dəm, -ˈzɜr-, -ʃiˌoʊ /

noun Logic.

a reduction to an absurdity; the refutation of a proposition by demonstrating the inevitably absurd conclusion to which it would logically lead.

Origin of reductio ad absurdum

First recorded in 1735–45, reductio ad absurdum is from the Latin word reductiō ad absurdum
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for reductio ad absurdum

reductio ad absurdum

/ (rɪˈdʌktɪəʊ æd æbˈsɜːdəm) /

noun

a method of disproving a proposition by showing that its inevitable consequences would be absurd
a method of indirectly proving a proposition by assuming its negation to be true and showing that this leads to an absurdity
application of a principle or proposed principle to an instance in which it is absurd

Word Origin for reductio ad absurdum

Latin, literally: reduction to the absurd
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