Definition of presupposition in English:


Line breaks: pre|sup¦pos|ition
Pronunciation: /ˌpriːsʌpəˈzɪʃ(ə)n


  • 1A thing tacitly assumed beforehand at the beginning of a line of argument or course of action: both men shared certain ethical presuppositions about the universe
    More example sentences
    • Discourse ethics has an a priori foundation: the presuppositions of discourse or argument.
    • The argument explores, therefore, the presuppositions of this self-consciousness.
    • First, often the very questions which challenge the presuppositions of a given problem are those which on their face seem most naïve.
  • 1.1 [mass noun] The action or state of presupposing or being presupposed.
    More example sentences
    • Notice that the therapist did not explain or justify this presupposition in a preamble but simply embedded it in the question.
    • He has tutored Catherine in a form of intertextual ‘reading’ by analogy that forces likeness through automatic and inappropriate presupposition.
    • Using Clendinnen's private lives to preface this very public one is a tactic meant to stay the hand of presupposition and the stereotypes it holds.


mid 16th century: from medieval Latin praesuppositio(n-), from the verb praesupponere (see presuppose).

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