• syllogism
  • audio pronunciation
  • \SIL-uh-jiz-um\
  • DEFINITION

noun

1
: a deductive scheme of a formal argument consisting of a major and a minor premise and a conclusion
2
: a subtle, specious, or crafty argument
3
: deductive reasoning
  • EXAMPLES

Kelly could not prove it, but she suspected that her opponent's arguments were a series of sneaky syllogisms based on dubious "facts."

"She learned to read [Thomas] Aquinas in the original, mastered the syllogism, pursued Socratism, then took that highly classical background with her to Dominican University in River Forest, Ill., where she graduated with a master’s degree in library and information science." — From an article by Kevin Nevers in the Chesterton Tribune (Indiana), May 8, 2013

  • DID YOU KNOW?

For those trained in formal argument, the syllogism is a classical form of deduction. One example is the inference that "kindness is praiseworthy" from the premises "every virtue is praiseworthy" and "kindness is a virtue." "Syllogism" came to English through Anglo-French from Latin "syllogismus," which in turn can be traced back through Greek to the verb "syllogizesthai," meaning "to infer." In Greek "logizesthai" means "to calculate" and derives from "logos," meaning "word" or "reckoning." "Syl-" comes from "syn-," meaning "with" or "together."

Test Your Vocabulary: What is the meaning of the verb "postulate"? The answer is …

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