Word of the Day
Sunday, February 03, 2013

Definitions for counterfactual

  1. a conditional statement the first clause of which expresses something contrary to fact, as “If I had known.”

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Citations for counterfactual
The ruse is so obvious, a counterfactual posing as a home truth. Matt Feeney, "Michael Chabon's Oakland," The New Yorker, September 26, 2012
Nevertheless, a counterfactual conditional differs from a piece of fiction only insofar as in the first case the addressee is requested to cooperate more actively in the realization of the text he receives... Umberto Eco, The Role of the Reader
Origin of counterfactual
This word was born in the late 1940s from a portmanteau of two complete words. Counterfactual imagines a reality that is counter to the factual, or lived, experience.