Definition of a posteriori in English:

a posteriori


  • 1Relating to or denoting reasoning or knowledge which proceeds from observations or experiences to the deduction of probable causes.

    • ‘This volume presents the most up-to-date information available on a posteriori error estimation for finite element approximation in mechanics and mathematics.’
    • ‘And, as seen earlier in connection with his ‘logic’, his concepts of demonstration and proof straddle the a priori / a posteriori distinction.’
    • ‘This paper proposes a novel probabilistic variational method with deterministic annealing for the maximum a posteriori estimation of complex stochastic systems.’
    • ‘Historically the a priori / a posteriori distinction has been closely associated with that between the innate and the learned.’
    • ‘In the absence of a clear characterization of the a priori / a posteriori distinction, it is by no means obvious what is being asserted or what is being denied.’
    1. 1.1 (in general use) of the nature of an afterthought or subsequent rationalization.
      • ‘That's an a posteriori rationalization for "looking nice," if ever there was one, but I'll take the designer at his word.’
      • ‘The "author" is an a posteriori rationalization of the text.’
      • ‘These sentences are called synthetic and they express an a posteriori thought.’


  • 1In a way based on reasoning from known facts or past events rather than by making assumptions or predictions.

    • ‘This lays them under a necessity of speaking a posteriori, if I may be allowed the phrase.’
    1. 1.1sentence adverb With hindsight; as an afterthought.
      • ‘The first thesis states that value generation is now primarily the result of social cooperation; the second that there is no longer a direct link between production and valorization, and that the latter is only realized a posteriori in the financial economy.’


Early 17th century: Latin, ‘from what comes after’.


a posteriori

/eɪ pɒˌstɛrɪˈɔːrʌɪ//ɑː pɒˌstɛrɪˈɔːriː/