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Contradiction in terms   /kˌɑntrədˈɪkʃən ɪn tərmz/   Listen
Contradiction in terms

(logic) a statement that is necessarily false.  Synonym: contradiction.

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"Contradiction in terms" Quotes from Famous Books

... understand rightly, is generally in sympathy with Disraeli's project, and appears to think that it might have been practicable to carry it into effect. He condemns Peel's counter-idea of substituting a middle-class Toryism for that which then existed as "almost a contradiction in terms." I am unable to concur in this view. I see no contradiction, either real or apparent, in Peel's counter-project, and I hold that events have proved that the premises on which Disraeli based his conclusion were entirely false, for his political descendants, while still pursuing his main ...
— Political and Literary essays, 1908-1913 • Evelyn Baring

... quite a new way, by "synthesis." "Parts" united by synthesis have not the logical characteristics of mutual distinction and externality of relations, they interpenetrate and modify one another. In a series which has duration (such a thing is a contradiction in terms, but the fault lies with the logical form of language which, in spite of its unsatisfactoriness we are driven to employ if we want to describe at all) the "later parts" are not distinct from the "earlier": "earlier and" "later" are ...
— The Misuse of Mind • Karin Stephen

... a priori, the possibility of Coleridge's story. As Mr. Huxley says, 'strictly speaking, I am unaware of anything that has a right to the title of an "impossibility," except a contradiction in terms.'[7] To the horror of some of his admirers, Mr. Huxley would not call the existence of demons and demoniacal possession 'impossible.'[8] Mr. Huxley was no blind follower of Hume. I, too, do not call Coleridge's tale 'impossible,' but, unlike the psychologists, I refuse to ...
— The Making of Religion • Andrew Lang

... among the Jews, although with them the idea of purification is involved as well as of thanksgiving, as it is in the Eastern Church at the present day. In some country places there is an idea that a woman can be "Churched" at home, which is a contradiction in terms. ...
— The Church Handy Dictionary • Anonymous

... Doctrine. In a word, it recognizes every principle and precedent, whether natural or historical, which has from the beginning lain at the foundation of our American polity. It does not attempt the hypocritical contradiction in terms, of pretending to elevate a people into a self-sustaining condition through the leading-string process of "tutelage." It appeals to our historical experience, applying to present conditions the lessons of Hayti, Mexico, and Venezuela. In dealing with those cases, ...
— "Imperialism" and "The Tracks of Our Forefathers" • Charles Francis Adams

... we certainly observe it as a fact that those are the greatest men who are most uncertain in spite of certainty, and at the same time most certain in spite of uncertainty, and who are thus best able to feel that there is nothing in such complete harmony with itself as a flat contradiction in terms. For nature hates that any principle should breed, so to speak, hermaphroditically, but will give to each an help meet for it which shall cross it and be the undoing of it; as in the case of descent with modification, of which the essence ...
— Selections from Previous Works - and Remarks on Romanes' Mental Evolution in Animals • Samuel Butler

... must be owned is downright nonsense, and a contradiction in terms: Amongst others captain Radcliff has ridiculed this blunder in the following lines of ...
— The Lives of the Poets of Great Britain and Ireland (1753) - Vol. III • Theophilus Cibber

... nobody knew where. But even in this chamber there was a rocking-chair. It would be impossible to get on anywhere, in America, without a rocking-chair. I am afraid to tell how many feet short this vessel was, or how many feet narrow: to apply the words length and width to such measurement would be a contradiction in terms. But I may state that we all kept the middle of the deck, lest the boat should unexpectedly tip over; and that the machinery, by some surprising process of condensation, worked between it and the keel: the whole forming a warm sandwich, ...
— American Notes for General Circulation • Charles Dickens

... the person who utters it, it must be something more than ready-made, it must bear within itself some sign which tells us, beyond the possibility of doubt, that it was uttered automatically. This can only happen when the phrase embodies some evident absurdity, either a palpable error or a contradiction in terms. Hence the following general rule: A COMIC MEANING IS INVARIABLY OBTAINED WHEN AN ABSURD IDEA IS ...
— Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic • Henri Bergson

... at the conclusion that domination by labor is impossible, and a contradiction in terms, seeing that all superiority which manifests itself among a people means cheapness, and tends only to impart force to all other nations. Let us banish, then, from political economy all terms borrowed from the military vocabulary: to ...
— Library Of The World's Best Literature, Ancient And Modern, Vol 4 • Charles Dudley Warner

... arithmeticians, "a unit is a number;" and so is it expounded by Johnson, Walker, Webster, and Worcester. See, in the Introduction, a note at the foot of p. 117. Mulligan, however, contends still, that one is no number; and that, "to talk of the singular number is absurd—a contradiction in terms;"—because, "in common discourse," a "number" is "always a plurality, except"—when it is "number one!"—See Grammatical Structure of the E. Language, Sec.33. Some prosodists have taught the absurdity, that two feet are necessary to constitute a metre, and have accordingly ...
— The Grammar of English Grammars • Goold Brown

... natural developments are nature, and indistinguishable from her. The governor and the governed, the restrainer and the restrained, can never as such be identical. Self-government, taken strictly, is a contradiction in terms. When an individual is said to govern himself, he is never understood to govern himself in the sense in which he is governed. He by his reason and will governs or restrains his appetites and passions. It is man as spirit governing man as flesh, the ...
— The American Republic: Its Constitution, Tendencies, and Destiny • A. O. Brownson

... stone. Pah! that sacred symbol of yours has actually given its name to a description of desperation and muddle. When we speak of men at once ignorant of each other and frustrated by each other, we say they are at cross-purposes. Away with the thing! The very shape of it is a contradiction in terms." ...
— The Ball and The Cross • G.K. Chesterton

... self-love. We must adopt a more public affection, and allow, that the interests of society are not, even on their own account, entirely indifferent to us. Usefulness is only a tendency to a certain end; and it is a contradiction in terms, that anything pleases as means to an end, where the end itself no wise affects us. If usefulness, therefore, be a source of moral sentiment, and if this usefulness be not always considered with a reference ...
— An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals • David Hume

... character, great moral qualities for after-ages to admire, he had beyond any man of modern times. But to suppose that in other respects he belonged to the ranks of mediocrity is not only a contradiction in terms, but utterly false. It was not character that fought the Trenton campaign and carried the revolution to victory. It was military genius. It was not character that read the future of America and created our foreign policy. It was statesmanship of the highest order. ...
— George Washington, Vol. II • Henry Cabot Lodge

... by my judging. GOD may have this probability increased to certainty.' BOSWELL. 'When it is increased to certainty, freedom ceases, because that cannot be certainly foreknown, which is not certain at the time; but if it be certain at the time, it is a contradiction in terms to maintain that there can be afterwards any contingency dependent upon the exercise of will or any thing else.' JOHNSON. 'All theory is against the freedom of the will; all experience for it[850].'—I did not push the subject any farther. I was glad to find ...
— Life Of Johnson, Vol. 3 • Boswell, Edited by Birkbeck Hill

... science has been subordinated overmuch to the humanities; that the imagination and the hand should be trained with the intellect. But the method which proposes to give children an education along the lines of least resistance is, like all other naturalism, a contradiction in terms, sometimes a reductio ad absurdum, sometimes ad nauseam. As long ago as 1893, when Huxley wrote his Romanes lecture on Evolution and Ethics, this identity of natural and human values was explicitly denied. Teachers do not exist for the amusement ...
— Preaching and Paganism • Albert Parker Fitch

... the question is simply to know whether this observation of fact should be generalised or not. We may, it seems to me, decline to generalise it without falling into a contradiction in terms. It may be conceived that the objects which we are looking at continue to exist, without change, during the moments when we have lost sight of them. This seems reasonable enough, and is the ...
— The Mind and the Brain - Being the Authorised Translation of L'me et le Corps • Alfred Binet

Words linked to "Contradiction in terms" :   untruth, contradiction, falsehood, logic, antinomy, falsity, paradox

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