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 paper proposes a novel probabilistic variational method with deterministic annealing for the maximum a posteriori estimation of complex stochastic systems.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This volume presents the most up-to-date information available on a posteriori error estimation for finite element approximation in mechanics and mathematics.’
    • ‘Historically the a priori / a posteriori distinction has been closely associated with that between the innate and the learned.’
    • ‘And, as seen earlier in connection with his ‘logic’, his concepts of demonstration and proof straddle the a priori / a posteriori distinction.’
    1. 1.1 (in general use) of the nature of an afterthought or subsequent rationalization.
      • ‘The "author" is an a posteriori rationalization of the text.’
      • ‘These sentences are called synthetic and they express an a posteriori thought.’
      • ‘That's an a posteriori rationalization for "looking nice," if ever there was one, but I'll take the designer at his word.’


  • 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

/ɑː pɒˌstɛrɪˈɔːriː//eɪ pɒˌstɛrɪˈɔːrʌɪ/