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 The speeches that most intriguingly compel reflection on the premise of counterfactual history are those written purely to ensure against the need to deliver them. Priya Satia, The New Republic, 20 May 2022 Fischer doesn’t speculate, but Le Prince’s story does give a counterfactual glimpse—if not of an enduringly less rapacious, more idealistic early film industry, then at least of a longer age of innocence. Nat Segnit, Harper’s Magazine , 16 Mar. 2022 Implicitly, it is based on a counterfactual scenario in which NATO is not enlarged and Russia does not attack Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014 and again in 2022. Jan Smoleński, The New Republic, 4 Mar. 2022 The letters invite counterfactual speculation: What if Truman had sent them? Beverly Gage, The New Yorker, 7 Mar. 2022 Its underpinnings — as a hodgepodge of people suffused in counterfactual belief systems, conspiracy theories and barely bridled rage at anything seen as contrary to their mission — frequently erupt through the official veneer. New York Times, 15 Feb. 2022 But so what if the show’s view of the wives is counterfactual? New York Times, 3 Oct. 2021 The trailer encapsulated the conspiratorial, counterfactual meanderings of Carlson that began just hours after the conflagration. Washington Post, 1 Nov. 2021 For Paul Griffiths, novelist, librettist, and one-time music critic for both The New Yorker and The New York Times, this counterfactual premise is too good to pass up., 22 Oct. 2021 See More

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.

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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Cite this Entry

“Counterfactual.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.

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