Trend Watch

An Interview Full of 'Non sequiturs'

"A statement (such as a response) that does not follow logically from anything previously said"


Non sequitur was among our top lookups on July 20th, 2017, following the use of this Latin term in an article in CNN, about an interview given to The New York Times by Donald Trump.

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Photo: Gage Skidmore

Donald Trump at the podium.

  1. "They've won five wars where the armies that went against them froze to death. It's pretty amazing. So, we're having a good time. The economy is doing great." When you look up "non sequitur" in the dictionary, this quote is there.
    —Chris Cillizza, CNN (cnn.com), 20 Jul 2017

While we refrain from speaking for all dictionaries, we can certainly inform you that our definition is somewhat more pedestrian (and, we hope, accurate) than the text offered above. We offer two senses for this term, and the one that would apply in this situation is "a statement (such as a response) that does not follow logically from or is not clearly related to anything previously said."

Non sequitur was borrowed, in the 1500s, directly from Latin, in which language it meant "it does not follow." For those who are wondering, yes, we do have the word sequitur; it means "the conclusion of an inference."



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