Word of the Day

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

ad hominem

\ad HOM-uh-nuhm -nem, ahd‐\ , adjective;
appealing to one's prejudices, emotions, or special interests rather than to one's intellect or reason.
attacking an opponent's character rather than answering his argument.
Contemporary music criticism is a minefield rife with nasty, ad hominem attacks, and the most popular target, in recent years, has been those professing inadequate fealty to pop.
-- Saul Austerlitz, "The Pernicious Rise of Poptimism," The New York Times, 2014
…a third way is to press a man with consequences drawn from his own principles or concessions. This is already known under the name argumentum ad hominem.
-- John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, 1690
Ad hominem translates literally from Latin as "to the man." It entered English in the late 1500s.
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