cau·​sa·​tion | \ kȯ-ˈzā-shən How to pronounce causation (audio) \

Definition of causation

1a : the act or process of causing the role of heredity in the causation of cancer
b : the act or agency which produces an effect in a complex situation causation is likely to be multiple— W. O. Aydelotte
2 : causality

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Examples of causation in a Sentence

the role of heredity in the causation of cancer He claimed that the accident caused his injury, but the court ruled that he did not provide sufficient evidence of causation.
Recent Examples on the Web But correlation with disease does not always equal causation of disease, and research shows that weight loss isn’t the effective cure-all it’s been made out to be. Adele Jackson-gibson, Good Housekeeping, "The Racist and Problematic History of the Body Mass Index," 23 Feb. 2021 The same question about direction of causation arises with fandom and physical fitness. David Papineau, WSJ, "‘Fans’ Review: Fanfare for the Fanatic," 22 Feb. 2021 These dates are linked, chronologically and arguably in causation, in the recent cultural history of Latinos in the United States. Daniel Hernandez, Los Angeles Times, "Week 1 and counting in the Biden-Harris era as Latinos wait on immigration promises," 27 Jan. 2021 The pandemic has created conditions unlike anything mental health professionals have seen before, making causation that much more difficult to determine. New York Times, "surge of student suicides," 25 Jan. 2021 For as Brink Lindsey of the centrist Niskanen Center points out, America is a case study of the direct line of causation between pluralism and prosperity. Washington Post, "Biden links prosperity to civic virtues in inauguration speech," 20 Jan. 2021 Individual reports aren’t verified, and the mere filing of a report does not prove causation. John Fauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "From time of JFK to COVID-19, government and hospitals have done poor job tracking drug side effects," 30 Nov. 2020 This kind of reporting relies on the false premise that correlation implies causation. Julia Eagles, Star Tribune, "Counterpoint: Causes of crime surge are complex," 17 Nov. 2020 Although potential causation isn’t yet clear, after the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine rollout began in the U.K., there was one report of a possible allergic reaction in someone who received the vaccine and two reports of anaphylaxis, according to Reuters. Colleen Stinchcombe, SELF, "The FDA Just Authorized Pfizer's Coronavirus Vaccine for Emergency Use," 12 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'causation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of causation

1615, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for causation

borrowed from Medieval Latin causātiōn-, causātiō "accusation, objection, causal action," going back to Latin, "plea, excuse," from causārī "to plead an action in law, plead as an excuse" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action — more at cause entry 2

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Time Traveler for causation

Time Traveler

The first known use of causation was in 1615

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Statistics for causation

Last Updated

28 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Causation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for causation



English Language Learners Definition of causation

: the act or process of causing something to happen or exist
: the relationship between an event or situation and a possible reason or cause


cau·​sa·​tion | \ kȯ-ˈzā-shən How to pronounce causation (audio) \

Legal Definition of causation

1a : the act or process of causing proof of objective causation of injury by the perpetrator— Alan Freeman
b : the act or agency that produces an effect evidence was presented on doctor's malpractice…for…proof of causationNational Law Journal if plaintiffs could establish…that the caps were manufactured by one of the defendants, the burden of proof as to causation would shift to all the defendantsSindell v. Abbott Laboratories, 607 P.2d 924 (1980)
2 : the relation between cause and effect especially as an element to be proven in a tort or criminal case must be “legal” causation between the acts and the results— W. R. LaFave and A. W. Scott, Jr. — see also chain of causation

More from Merriam-Webster on causation

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for causation

Britannica English: Translation of causation for Arabic Speakers

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