non sequitur


non se·​qui·​tur ˌnän-ˈse-kwə-tər How to pronounce non sequitur (audio)
 also  -ˌtu̇r
: 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)
: 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 Instead, the charge relies upon insinuations, elisions, and non sequiturs. The Editors, National Review, 30 Aug. 2023 The play’s overlapping conversation is a symphony of interruptions and resonant non sequiturs, adroitly conducted. Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times, 29 Aug. 2023 In that classic film sequence, the non sequiturs and insinuations produce building tension, as well as the suspicion that brainwashing is involved. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 24 Mar. 2023 For years, Russian diplomats were made to confront Washington and defend the country’s meddling abroad with lies and non sequiturs. Boris Bondarev, Foreign Affairs, 17 Oct. 2022 Tragedy, meet non sequitur. The Editors, National Review, 25 Jan. 2023 Bezos replied that this was a non sequitur. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, 7 June 2022 This logic is false, a classic non sequitur. John Bolton, Time, 9 Mar. 2022 That’s a non sequitur. David B. Rivkin Jr. and Jason Snead, WSJ, 3 June 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'non sequitur.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin, it does not follow

First Known Use

1540, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of non sequitur was in 1540


Dictionary Entries Near non sequitur

Cite this Entry

“Non sequitur.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.

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