cau·sa·tion | \ kȯ-ˈzā-shən \

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

While this is a correlation rather than a causation, another study found that taking a substance called haloperidol, which disrupts dopamine’s effects within the brain, led to a measurable decrease in sensation seeking behaviour. Richard Stephens, Smithsonian, "The History and Psychology of Roller Coasters," 12 July 2018 That happens second, so there just isn’t a way for the causation to work in that direction. Nicholas Thompson, WIRED, "How Facebook Wants to Improve the Quality of Your News Feed," 23 May 2018 Whether by causation or correlation, once the Big East pared itself down to 10 colleges and universities, nine of which have Catholic affiliations, Villanova’s program took off like a rocket. Mike Sielski,, "The greatness of Villanova and Jay Wright has elevated the new Big East, and the new Big East has elevated them | Mike Sielski," 5 Apr. 2018 The study has some limitations and doesn’t account for causation and other factors that might be at play, according to the British Psychological Society. David Carrig, USA TODAY, "The better your sense of smell, the more you enjoy sex, study suggests," 30 May 2018 First things first: Correlation does not imply causation. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "Could Drinking Lots of Coffee Really Help You Live Longer? Here Are the Facts," 3 July 2018 But Dudley and his colleagues took a step toward showing causation, and therefore going beyond previous research, by finding that viruses had also slipped their genes into the DNA of cells in the Alzheimer’s brains. Sharon Begley, STAT, "New study supports long-dismissed idea: Herpes viruses could play role in Alzheimer’s," 21 June 2018 But causation almost certainly runs in the other direction as well. The Economist, "Does inequality cause suicide, drug abuse and mental illness?," 14 June 2018 And, of course, the big one: Correlation doesn’t equal causation. Yvette D'entremont, SELF, "I Lost 90 Pounds. Maintaining That Weight Loss Was Harder.," 1 May 2018

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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Statistics for causation

Last Updated

6 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for causation

The first known use of causation was in 1615

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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 \

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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