Definition of ignoratio elenchi in English:

Share this entry

ignoratio elenchi

Pronunciation: /ˌɪɡnəˈreɪʃɪəʊ ɪˈlɛŋkʌɪ/

noun (plural ignorationes elenchi /-ˈəʊniːz/)

A logical fallacy which 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.


Latin, literally 'ignorance of the elenchus'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ig¦nor|atio elen|chi

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.