Definition of ignoratio elenchi in English:

ignoratio elenchi


  • A logical fallacy which consists in apparently refuting an opponent while actually disproving something not asserted.

    • ‘Deducing statements about the action of agents operating in a closed system, and transferring them to the action of agents in the open system, commits the fallacy called ignoratio elenchi.’
    • ‘This is what's known in the trade as ignoratio elenchi, or an irrelevant conclusion.’
    • ‘I have no idea whether what the book says about Coltrane is useful, but the discussions of Bartok's last quartet or Strauss's Metamorphosen are not far off the ignoratio elenchi, an ‘argument irrelevant to the object in view’.’


Latin, literally ‘ignorance of the elenchus’.


ignoratio elenchi

/ˌɪɡnəˈreɪʃɪəʊ ɪˈlɛŋkʌɪ/