Both sequitur and non sequitur were among our top lookups on March 13th, 2019, after Amy Berman Jackson, the judge presiding over one of Paul Manafort’s court cases, referred to comments of the defense counsel as “simply a non sequitur.”
"It's hard to understand why an attorney would write that...The 'no collusion' mantra is simply a non sequitur." It's also not accurate, since the investigation is ongoing, she says.— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) March 13, 2019
Non sequitur is defined as “an inference (sense 2) that does not follow from the premises (entry 1, sense 1)” or “a statement (such as a response) that does not follow logically from or is not clearly related to anything previously said.” Sequitur, without a non, is defined as “the conclusion of an inference.”
Non sequitur comes directly from the Latin (in which language it means “it does not follow”). Borrowed into English in the 16th century by logicians, it initially referred to a conclusion that did not follow the statements preceding it. The meaning has now broadened to include statements that are seemingly unrelated to the topic at hand. The Latin verb sequi (“to follow”) at the heart of non sequitur serves as the basis for a number of English words, including subsequent (“following in time, order, or place”), sequel (“the next installment, as of a speech or story”), and sequacious (“inclined to be servile”).
Trend Watch is a data-driven report on words people are looking up at much higher search rates than normal. While most trends can be traced back to the news or popular culture, our focus is on the lookup data rather than the events themselves.
- May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz Take the quiz
- Obscure Shapes Take the quiz
- Spell It Take the quiz
- Dictionary Devil Play the game