coun·​ter·​fac·​tu·​al | \ ˌkau̇n-tər-ˈfak-chə-wəl How to pronounce counterfactual (audio) , -chəl, -shwəl, -chü-əl \

Definition of counterfactual

: contrary to fact counterfactual assumptions

Examples of counterfactual in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Instead, as Patwardhan argues, it has been fomented over the years by ambitious, powerful interests who have nurtured a counterfactual myth of Hindu supremacy, an ideology spread through social media and by a compliant media. Peter Keough,, 17 Mar. 2021 Regret is a negative emotion that hinges on counterfactual thinking, Dr. Roese explains. Patia Braithwaite, SELF, 31 Mar. 2021 Yes, there are anxieties about doing counterfactual history. New York Times, 26 Mar. 2021 Of course, counterfactual history is difficult to prove. Bruce Bartlett, The New Republic, 26 Feb. 2021 Sure, Facebook’s tendency to gobble up potential competitors or cut them off from its developer tools has probably reduced the level of innovation in the field, but who’s to say what social networking would look like in the counterfactual scenario? Gilad Edelman, Wired, 9 Dec. 2020 In the counterfactual world of no pandemic, at least four election prediction models based partially or entirely on economic factors suggest Trump could have been a formidable candidate, using economic data available early this year. Geoff Colvin, Fortune, 4 Oct. 2020 But at no place is the tension higher than at Fox, which has served as platform, megaphone and cheerleading squad for Mr. Trump and his counterfactual claims for the better part of four years. Ben Smith, New York Times, 27 Sep. 2020 That in itself would be enough to subtract 5 percentage points from fourth-quarter gross domestic product compared with a counterfactual scenario that includes an extension of stimulus measures., 22 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'counterfactual.' 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 counterfactual

1946, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of counterfactual was in 1946

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Last Updated

2 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Counterfactual.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jun. 2021.

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