Ad hominem



appealing to one’s prejudices, emotions, or special interests rather than to one’s intellect or reason.
attacking an opponent’s character rather than answering his argument.
Contemporary Examples

This was hardly an ad hominem assault, though West interpreted it that way.
Does Allen West Hate Women? Michelle Goldberg July 21, 2011

When it comes to ad hominem attacks, neither Woffinden nor Rose can rest on safe ground.
BBC Critics Cry Witch Hunt in Newsnight Child-Abuse Report Peter Jukes November 13, 2012

Historical Examples

There is no retort to such a proposition as this so proper as the argument not ad hominem, but ab or ex homine.
A History of the French Novel, Vol. 1 George Saintsbury

And thus, when in future they are condemned, they will say ad hominem that they are unjust, and thus will refute their judgment.
The Thoughts of Blaise Pascal Blaise Pascal

He is arguing ‘ad hominem’ according to the notions of mythology current in his age.
Apology Plato

adjective, adverb
directed against a person rather than against his arguments
based on or appealing to emotion rather than reason

c.1600, Latin, literally “to a man,” from ad “to” (see ad-) + hominem, accusative of homo “man” (see homunculus).
ad hominem [(ad hom-uh-nem, ad hom-uh-nuhm)]

A Latin expression meaning “to the man.” An ad hominem argument is one that relies on personal attacks rather than reason or substance.

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