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.

Nearby words

  1. reducing glass,
  2. reduct,
  3. reductant,
  4. reductase,
  5. reductase test,
  6. reduction,
  7. reduction deformity,
  8. reduction division,
  9. reduction formula,
  10. reduction mammaplasty

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

Word Origin and History for reductio ad absurdum

reductio ad absurdum

Latin, literally "reduction to the absurd." Absurdum is neuter of absurdus. See reduction + absurd. The tactic is useful and unobjectionable in proofs in geometry.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper