A priori, Latin for "from the former", is traditionally contrasted with a posteriori. The term usually describes lines of reasoning or arguments that proceed from the general to the particular, or from causes to effects. Whereas a posteriori knowledge is knowledge based solely on experience or personal observation, a priori knowledge is knowledge that comes from the power of reasoning based on self-evident truths. So, for example, "Every mother has had a child" is an a priori statement, since it shows simple logical reasoning and isn't a statement of fact about a specific case (such as "This woman is the mother of five children") that the speaker knew about from experience.
Examples of a priori in a Sentence
There's no a priori reason to think your expenses will remain the same in a new city.
an a priori argument for the defendant's innocence
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'a priori.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.