Definition of elenchus in English:


Syllabification: e·len·chus
Pronunciation: /iˈleNGkəs

noun (plural elenchi /-kī, -kē/)

1.1 (also Socratic elenchus) The Socratic method of eliciting truth by question and answer, especially as used to refute an argument.
More example sentences
  • On the other hand, Socrates's employment of the dialectical method, the so-called elenchus, aimed at considerably more than negative knowledge.
  • Setting aside the opening elenchus which elicits Thrasymachus' conception of the real ruler, Socrates offers five arguments against Thrasymachus.
  • By means of the procedure of question and answer which came to be known as the elenchus, Socrates refutes all those who claim to know what aret is by showing their views to be internally inconsistent.


mid 17th century (superseding late Middle English elench): via Latin from Greek elenkhos.

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