coun·​ter·​fac·​tu·​al ˌkau̇n-tər-ˈfak-chə-wəl How to pronounce counterfactual (audio)
: contrary to fact
counterfactual assumptions

Examples of counterfactual in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Binet playfully imagines a counterfactual history in which the Aztecs and the Incas conquer western Europe. Sam Taylor, Foreign Affairs, 19 Oct. 2021 When researchers provide independent assessments of Uber’s operations based on third-party information, the company predictably dismisses their validity while refusing to provide a counterfactual rebuttal from its own proprietary data. Len Sherman, Forbes, 11 Dec. 2023 Christian Dannecker began his talk with a convoluted disquisition on deforestation curves, counterfactual modelling, and the limitations of NASA satellite data in assessing dryland deforestation. Heidi Blake, The New Yorker, 16 Oct. 2023 The iterations of these counterfactual scenarios could be endless. Agustino Fontevecchia, Forbes, 13 Aug. 2023 Crucial to this development was an algorithm called counterfactual regret minimization. New York Times, 18 Jan. 2022 This careful analysis of counterfactual scenarios is run through the fictional model. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, 2 May 2023 Researchers at Spotify have developed a machine-learning model that captures the complex math behind counterfactual analysis, a technique used to identify causes of past events and improve the prediction of future ones, according to a story in MIT Tech Review. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, 2 May 2023 Both claims are counterfactual. Laurence Kotlikoff, Forbes, 6 June 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'counterfactual.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1946, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of counterfactual was in 1946

Dictionary Entries Near counterfactual

Cite this Entry

“Counterfactual.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

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