just-so story


variants or less commonly just so story
: a speculative story or explanation of doubtful or unprovable validity that is put forward to account for the origin of something (such as a biological trait) when no verifiable explanation is known
When large claims about humans hang on just-so stories about the evolution of animal behavior, a selective reading of the ethnographic record or the casual lumping together of human and animal behavior, the wise should tread warily.Philip Kitcher, New York Times Book Review, 20 May 1984
Rather than offering firm answers, Wild Minds delves into the messy, difficult business of bringing animal thinking out of the realm of just-so stories and into that of solid empirical research.Jennifer Schuessler, Lingua Franca, April 2000
For Panek, this faint radiation arriving from all directions is the first experimental confirmation of big bang theory, and the moment at which cosmology made the transition from celestial just-so story to science.Richard Lea, The Guardian (London), 19 Mar. 2011

Word History


after the Just So Stories (1902) of Rudyard Kipling, which presented for children fanciful accounts of how animals acquired their characteristic features

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Dictionary Entries Near just-so story

Cite this Entry

“Just-so story.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/just-so%20story. Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.

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