just-so story

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 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

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History and Etymology for 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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Cite this Entry

“Just-so story.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/just-so%20story. Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

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