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.

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.

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 When a friend asked if sweet-potato pies tasted anything like pumpkin, Amiri Baraka responded with a wry non sequitur. New York Times, 14 Mar. 2022 The resultant traces of smoke seem non sequitur as the distillery eschews the use of peat. Viju Mathew, Robb Report, 8 Oct. 2021 When the slides on the pitch deck start to go by too fast, ask a non sequitur. Neil Senturia, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7 Oct. 2021 These don’t produce a stream of financial returns that can be invested in the bank, so saying these benefits have to be discounted because capital earns a rate of return is a non sequitur argument. James Broughel, Forbes, 27 Sep. 2021 This Part Off and Remind Me on July 12 There has always been something of a non sequitur at the heart of the European Championships. New York Times, 11 June 2021 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, 21 Oct. 2020 Its foreboding music and non sequitur lyrics were off-putting to critics and fans at first. Neil Shah, WSJ, 26 Sep. 2020 That way, if anything else gets posted, someone can call it out as a non sequitur. Washington Post, 8 Sep. 2020 See More

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.

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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Last Updated

3 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Non sequitur.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2022.

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