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

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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 Studies may never prove what causes cancer There's an important consideration in interpreting the results: The study analyzes association, not causation. Scottie Andrew, CNN, "Study links hair dyes and chemical straighteners to higher breast cancer risk, particularly among black women," 6 Dec. 2019 The judge found that the allegations of harm and causation contained in the affidavit of merit were insufficient. Washington Post, "Delaware attorney general loses appeal bid in opioid lawsuit," 12 Dec. 2019 Efforts right now are focused on finding the remaining five fishermen, then an investigation will launch into causation. Aubrey Wieber, Anchorage Daily News, "Coast Guard searching for crew members of crab vessel that sank in Gulf of Alaska," 1 Jan. 2020 Yet Schweizer provided no proof of causation nor evidence of illegality. Jane Mayer, The New Yorker, "The Invention of the Conspiracy Theory on Biden and Ukraine," 4 Oct. 2019 But the arrow of causation also works in the other direction. John Authers | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "Trump Doesn’t Understand Currency Wars, Either," 2 Dec. 2019 Other scientists urged caution in considering those findings, suggesting that there was correlation but not necessarily causation. Harrison Smith, Washington Post, "Janette Sherman, physician-activist who warned of toxic chemicals, dies at 89," 15 Nov. 2019 This is not the first time that studies have shown a correlation between economic prosperity and bilingualism (pdf), but correlation doesn’t necessarily prove causation. Annabelle Timsit, Quartz, "Europe’s largest economies are falling behind in English," 5 Nov. 2019 The academics tried an ingenious way to get round this causation problem by examining a very British issue—the weather. The Economist, "Research suggests happy employees are good for firms and investors," 31 Oct. 2019

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

8 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Causation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for causation


How to pronounce causation (audio)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on causation

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for causation

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with causation

Britannica English: Translation of causation for Arabic Speakers

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