non sequitur

non se·​qui·​tur | \ ˌnän-ˈse-kwə-tər How to pronounce non sequitur (audio) also -ˌtu̇r \

Definition of non sequitur

1 : an inference (see inference sense 1) that does not follow from the premises (see premise entry 1 sense 1) specifically : a fallacy resulting from a simple conversion of a universal affirmative (see affirmative entry 1 sense 3) proposition or from the transposition of a condition and its consequent (see consequent entry 1 sense 1)
2 : a statement (such as a response) that does not follow logically from or is not clearly related to anything previously said We were talking about the new restaurant when she threw in some non sequitur about her dog.

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Did You Know?

In Latin, non sequitur means "it does not follow." The phrase was borrowed into English in the 1500s by people who made a formal study of logic. For them it meant a conclusion that does not follow from the statements that lead to it. But we now use non sequitur for any kind of statement that seems to come out of the blue. The Latin verb sequi ("to follow") has actually led the way for a number of English words. A sequel follows the original novel, film, or television show. Someone obsequious follows another about, flattering and fawning. And an action is often followed by its consequence.

Examples of non sequitur in a Sentence

We were talking about the new restaurant when she threw in some non sequitur about her dog.
Recent Examples on the Web During a rally Tuesday in Erie, Pa., in-between comments on his crowd sizes and fracking, Trump sneaked in a non sequitur about the interview. Author: Josh Dawsey, Colby Itkowitz, Jeremy Barr, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump, unhappy with questions from ’60 Minutes’ host Lesley Stahl, threatens to release interview himself," 21 Oct. 2020 Its foreboding music and non sequitur lyrics were off-putting to critics and fans at first. Neil Shah, WSJ, "How Radiohead Predicted Our Tumultuous Times 20 Years Ago," 26 Sep. 2020 That way, if anything else gets posted, someone can call it out as a non sequitur. Washington Post, "Our group texts are blowing up during the pandemic. And we’re taking the drama personally.," 8 Sep. 2020 In Latin terms, that correlation – kneeling to raise awareness about police brutality is really just disrespecting the military – is called a non sequitur. Gregg Doyel, The Indianapolis Star, "Doyel: Help this country heal, or get out of the way," 4 June 2020 Her best lines were odd non sequiturs that revealed disturbing flashes of family history. Eren Orbey, The New Yorker, "The “Schitt’s Creek” Series Finale: The Vindication of Twyla," 8 Apr. 2020 And then, in a non sequitur, also called for closing harbors to migrants from African countries too. Annalisa Merelli, Quartz, "Hysteria over coronavirus in Italy is reminiscent of the black death," 24 Feb. 2020 Newsfeed Ray Romano Attracted Plenty of Attention at the 2020 Oscars The hostless ceremony devolved into a series of non sequiturs: Celebrity presenters introduced more famous celebrity presenters. Judy Berman, Time, "What the Awkward, Endless Oscars Could Learn From Last Weekend's Other Star-Studded Awards Show," 10 Feb. 2020 The mention of people experiencing homelessness might seem like something of a non sequitur, an unusual topic that had found its way into Trump's speech. Philip Bump,, "Trump reveals motivation for his anti-homelessness push: foreign real estate tenants," 18 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'non sequitur.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of non sequitur

1540, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for non sequitur

Latin, it does not follow

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The first known use of non sequitur was in 1540

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Cite this Entry

“Non sequitur.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for non sequitur

non sequitur


English Language Learners Definition of non sequitur

: a statement that is not connected in a logical or clear way to anything said before it

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