Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Logic A form of deductive reasoning consisting of a major premise, a minor premise, and a conclusion; for example, All humans are mortal, the major premise, I am a human, the minor premise, therefore, I am mortal, the conclusion.
  • n. Reasoning from the general to the specific; deduction.
  • n. A subtle or specious piece of reasoning.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An inference in which one proposition (the conclusion) follows necessarily from two other propositions, known as the premises.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The regular logical form of every argument, consisting of three propositions, of which the first two are called the premises, and the last, the conclusion. The conclusion necessarily follows from the premises; so that, if these are true, the conclusion must be true, and the argument amounts to demonstration.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A logical formula consisting of two premises and a conclusion alleged to follow from them, in which a term contained in both premises disappears: but the truth of neither the premises nor the conclusion is necessarily asserted.
  • n. Deductive or explicatory reasoning as opposed to induction and hypothesis: a use of the term which has been common since Aristotle.
  • n. See the adjectives.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. deductive reasoning in which a conclusion is derived from two premises

Etymologies

Middle English silogisme, from Old French, from Latin syllogismus, from Greek sullogismos, from sullogizesthai, to infer : sun-, syn- + logizesthai, to count, reckon (from logos, reason).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French silogisme ("syllogism"), from Latin syllogismus, from Ancient Greek συλλογισμός (syllogismos, "inference, conclusion"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Nonsense and faith (strange as the conjuction may seem) are the two supreme syblolic assertions of the turhtu that to draw out the souls of things with a syllogism is as impossible as to draw out Leviathan with a hook.

    2009 March 30 | NIGEL BEALE NOTA BENE BOOKS

  • The biggest problem with your syllogism is the first two words of the first premise: "God is".

    Augustine on Creation

  • For the sake of those unacquainted with that art, it may not be improper to observe that the above argument is what they call a syllogism, and that a syllogism consists of three propositions.

    A Dissertation on Divine Justice

  • But the human faculties are fortified by the art and practice of dialectics; the ten predicaments of Aristotle collect and methodize our ideas, 59 and his syllogism is the keenest weapon of dispute.

    The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

  • So your syllogism is that [biometric ID required for all US Citizens] = = [persons detained for lawful reasons being required to present ID as a check of citizenship]?

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Words I never expected to write

  • If you find that plausible, then it surely matters whether the antecedent condition in this little syllogism is actually true.

    Exceptions, Rules, and Abortion

  • The Greeks have but one word, logos, for both speech and reason; not that they thought there was no speech without reason, but no reasoning without speech; and the act of reasoning they called syllogism; which signifieth summing up of the consequences of one saying to another.

    Leviathan

  • I would not undertake to set up my humble judgment in controversy with many other men who have had far more experience than I in political life, but, I would like to say to this gathering of Toronto men, that my fifteen years 'experience has convinced me that that syllogism is false and erroneous.

    The Machine in Honest Hands

  • B No, I mean that the premises don't grant the conclusion--putting it in the form of a syllogism was a way of demonstrating the lack of connection between the premises and the conclusion--I thought the syllogism was self-evidently faulty, but I guess I'll have to explain.

    Good, better, best

  • A syllogism is a deduction consisting of three sentences: two premises and a conclusion.

    The Statue of a Writer

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