[saw-rahy-teez, soh-]

noun Logic.

a form of argument having several premises and one conclusion, capable of being resolved into a chain of syllogisms, the conclusion of each of which is a premise of the next.

Origin of sorites

1545–55; < Latin sōrītēs < Greek sōreítēs literally, heaped, piled up, derivative of sōrós a heap
Related formsso·rit·i·cal [saw-rit-i-kuh l, soh-] /sɔˈrɪt ɪ kəl, soʊ-/, so·rit·ic, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sorites

Historical Examples of sorites

  • The Sorites uses several middle terms by which the predicate of the last proposition is connected with the first subject.

    A Logic Of Facts

    George Jacob Holyoake

  • Two modes of abbreviating a Polysyllogism, are usually discussed, the Epicheirema and the Sorites.


    Carveth Read

  • Among these logical puzzles are the following: Sorites, the heap trick.

  • Now the rest is concluded by a sorites of foure degrees: As yr, is unto yi: so by the 12.

British Dictionary definitions for sorites



  1. a polysyllogism in which the premises are arranged so that intermediate conclusions are omitted, being understood, and only the final conclusion is stated
  2. a paradox of the formthese few grains of sand do not constitute a heap, and the addition of a single grain never makes what is not yet a heap into a heap: so no matter how many single grains one adds it never becomes a heap
Derived Formssoritical (sɒˈrɪtɪkəl) or soritic, adjective

Word Origin for sorites

C16: via Latin from Greek sōreitēs, literally: heaped, from sōros a heap
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