non sequitur - Wiktionary
non sequitur
See also: nonsequitur and non-sequitur
WOTD – 3 July 2007
Alternative forms
non-sequitur, nonsequitur
From the Latin phrase nōn sequitur (“it does not follow”); in Latin, the phrase sees no use as a noun. Compare sequence, from same root.
Examples (logical fallacy)
“All ravens are black; this object is black; therefore, this object is a raven.”
Examples (humor)
non sequitur (plural non sequiturs or non sequuntur)
  1. (narratology) Any abrupt and inexplicabletransition or occurrence.
    Having a costumed superhero abduct the vicar was an utter non sequitur in the novel.
    1980 May 13, Anatole Broyard, “Books of The Times”, in The New York Times[1], ISSN 0362-4331:
    Non sequiturs, gratuitous acts, frustrating ellipses, ambiguities, a dearth of emotion: Miss [Lillian] Hellman avails herself of all these current techniques in telling a story that she keeps telling us may not be a story at all.
  2. (logic) Any invalid argument in which the conclusion cannot be logically deduced from the premises.
    Synonym: fallacy
    Antonym: sequitur
  3. A statement that does not logically follow a statement that came before it.
    2012 August 5, Nathan Rabin, “TV: Review: THE SIMPSONS (CLASSIC): “I Love Lisa” (season 4, episode 15; originally aired 02/11/1993)”, in AV Club[2]:
    Ralph Wiggum is generally employed as a bottomless fount of glorious non sequiturs, but in “I Love Lisa” he stands in for every oblivious chump who ever deluded himself into thinking that with persistence, determination, and a pure heart he can win the girl of his dreams.
  4. (humor) A kind of pun that uses a change of word, subject, or meaning to make a joke of the listener’s expectation.
    Coordinate term: paraprosdokian
Usage notes
The legitimate plural forms of non sequitur include the Anglicised non sequiturs and the Classical non sequuntur; non sequituri is also attested, but is rare, non-standard, and misformed.
In sense “abrupt transition”, contrast with segue(“move smoothly from one subject to another”), which is etymologically opposite (“does not follow” vs. “follow”). However, segue has connotations of moving between distinct subjects, and thus to segue often means to change rather abruptly, with at best a pretense of smooth transition – in both cases there is often a rapid move between distinct subjects, with the distinction being whether this is done smoothly or not.
Derived terms
Related terms
English terms derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *sekʷ-‎ (4 c, 1 e)
any abrupt and inexplicable transition or occurrence
German: Gedankensprung m
Greek: ανακολουθία (el) f(anakolouthía)
invalid argument
kind of pun
See also
Further reading
Last edited on 2 March 2021, at 10:22
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