non sequitur

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

Definition of non sequitur

1 : an inference (see inference sense 2) 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 The unflappable Steven Wright, who attended Emerson College with Leary, delivered his usual array of droll non sequiturs. BostonGlobe.com, "After opener Joe Yannetty, himself a cancer survivor, made the sold-out crowd his guests at a gender reveal party for his daughter’s baby — “It’s a boy!” — Leary took the opportunity to joke about the rise of gender dysphoria: “Yeah, it’s a boy . . . for now!”," 11 Nov. 2019 The group's 300,000 members post non sequiturs, comment on each others' out-of-date memes and behave in a way befitting past generations. Joshua Bote, USA TODAY, "Why are Gen Z and millennials calling out Boomers on TikTok? 'OK, boomer,' explained," 31 Oct. 2019 Both Hurt and Webb beautifully navigate the challenging rhythms of Stoppardian dialogue, which is an intricate blend of seeming non sequiturs, lightning-fast aperçus, throwaway jokes, and gnomic insights that threaten to make your head explode. BostonGlobe.com, "In a spirited ‘Rosencrantz & Guildenstern’ at the Huntington, doom without the gloom - The Boston Globe," 27 Sep. 2019 And here’s a huge non sequitur: That’s when Minnesota won Big Ten and national championships. Andy Greder, Twin Cities, "Gophers football team has a clearer path to an 8-0 start," 29 Sep. 2019 Stewart, however, upstages everyone, from the opening close-up on her gleeful grin to her array of colorful costumes, riotous non sequiturs and unconventional posture choices. Mark Lieberman, Anchorage Daily News, "Kristen Stewart is a lively shot in the arm for tired ‘Charlie’s Angels’ reboot," 13 Nov. 2019 This gamboling musical adaptation, in which words spin freely as both spoken and sung non sequitur, celebrates circularity in all its manifold resonances. Los Angeles Times, "Review: The Odyssey’s ‘In Circles’ stylishly revives a ’60s Gertrude Stein musical experiment," 17 Sep. 2019 But after becoming governor, Newsom proposed legislation to withhold gas tax funds from cities that weren’t doing enough to spur home building — a non sequitur. Los Angeles Times, "With California’s vaccine bill, children’s immunizations and Newsom’s word are at stake," 5 Sep. 2019 The comment that triggered misconduct proceedings was almost a non sequitur, Mossman said. Megan Cassidy, SFChronicle.com, "Ghost Ship trial: Inside the turbulent jury deliberations that led to dismissals, acquittal, deadlock," 11 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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Last Updated

31 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Non sequitur.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/non%20sequitur. Accessed 21 January 2020.

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More Definitions for non sequitur

non sequitur

noun
How to pronounce non sequitur (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of non sequitur

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

More from Merriam-Webster on non sequitur

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for non sequitur

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with non sequitur

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