Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

Ask-A-Linguist Message Details

Subject: Ad Hominem and Insult
Question: Hello. Recently I was arguing with somebody over whether or not Ad Hominem is synonymous with insult since the person I was talking with used them interchangeably. My reasoning was that Ad Hominem is a fallacy meant to denote a fallacious reasoning associated with attacking a person. The person in question told me that any linguist would agree that ''semantic flexibility'' makes his use of Ad Hominem to mean 'insult' is valid. Is this true?

Are Ad Hominem and insult interchangeable?

Reply: “Ad hominem” translates as ‘to the person’, as an argument/charge which concerns a person’s character rather than, say, their ideas. So an ad hominem insult is an insult, but other kinds of insult may not target personal character and are therefore not ad hominem.

Madalena
Reply From: Madalena Cruz-Ferreira      click here to access email
 
Date: 20-Aug-2013
 
Other Replies:
  1. Re: Ad Hominem and Insult    Geoffrey Richard Sampson     (20-Aug-2013)
  2. Re: Ad Hominem and Insult    James Vandenbosch     (20-Aug-2013)
  3. Re: Ad Hominem and Insult    Elizabeth J Pyatt     (21-Aug-2013)

Back to Most Recent Questions