Wondrous Words #392

WWWEvery week word-lovers post new words they’ve discovered while reading. It’s called Wondrous Words Wednesday and was created by Kathy at Bermuda Onion’s Weblog.

I discovered a new phrase while reading the first paragraph of a book on the Book Club Librarian’s blog. The book was The Daylight Marriage by Heidi Pitlor,. Here’s the sentence and the phrase:

post hoc, ergo propter hoc: Later, in weaker moments, Lovell Hall reminded himself of the logical fallacy that young scientists so often committed: Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.

The author goes on to define the phrase, but by that time I had stopped to figure it out on my own. (That’s what all these weeks of searching new words has done to me.) I already knew a few things: I recognized this as a Latin phrase and I knew the word “ergo” meant therefore and “post” meant after. Now, what do the reast of the words mean. I looked it up and found out this:

Post hoc, ergo propter hoc means after this, therefore resulting from it.

The phrase is used to show that a causal relationship has erroneously been assumed from a merely sequential one. In other words, just because one event follows another event, you can’t assume that the second event was caused by the first event. It’s a pretty clear assumption, but I love that the idea has its own Latin phrase.


That’s all for me this week. Don’t forget to visit Kathy for more Wondrous Words Wednesday.

This entry was posted in Wondrous Words. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Wondrous Words #392

  1. Great detective work! I figured out post and ergo and felt like I should have been able to figure out hoc as well.

  2. I knew post hoc, but not the other.

  3. Julia Tomiak says:

    Wow, thanks for doing the research on this one and explaining it so fully!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *