Definition of ignoratio elenchi in English:

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ignoratio elenchi

Pronunciation: /ˌiɡnəˈrāSHēō iˈleNGkī/ Pronunciation: /-kē/

noun (plural ignorationes elenchi /ˌiɡnəˌrāSHēˈōnēz/)

A logical fallacy that consists in apparently refuting an opponent while actually disproving something not asserted.
Example sentences
  • Deducing statements about the action of agents operating in a closed system, and transferring them to the action of agents in the open system, commits the fallacy called ignoratio elenchi.
  • I have no idea whether what the book says about Coltrane is useful, but the discussions of Bartok's last quartet or Strauss's Metamorphosen are not far off the ignoratio elenchi, an ‘argument irrelevant to the object in view’.
  • This is what's known in the trade as ignoratio elenchi, or an irrelevant conclusion.


Late 16th century: Latin, literally 'ignorance of the elenchus'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ig·no·ra·ti·o e·len·chi

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