Definition of elenchus in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ɪˈlɛŋkəs/

noun (plural elenchi /ɪˈlɛŋkʌɪ/)

1.1 (also Socratic elenchus) [mass noun] The Socratic method of eliciting truth by question and answer, especially as used to refute an argument.
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.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: elen|chus

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.