just-so story

noun
variants: or less commonly just so story

Definition of 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 KitcherNew York Times Book Review20 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 SchuesslerLingua FrancaApril 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

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Origin and Etymology of just-so story

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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