Reductio-ad-absurdum meaning

rĭ-dŭktē-ō ăd əb-sûrdəm, -zûr-, -shē-ō
(mathematics, logic) The method of proving a statement by assuming the statement is false and, with that assumption, arriving at a blatant contradiction.
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Disproof of a proposition by showing that it leads to absurd or untenable conclusions.
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The proof of a proposition by showing its opposite to be an obvious falsity or self-contradiction, or the disproof of a proposition by showing its consequences to be impossible or absurd.
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Reduction to the absurd. In logic, disproving an argument by demonstrating that it leads to a ridiculous conclusion.
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Origin of reductio-ad-absurdum

  • Medieval Latin reductiō ad absurdum Latin reductiō a bringing back, reduction Latin ad to Latin absurdum absurdity from neuter of absurdus absurd

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition