ipse dixit

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Latin ipse (himself) dīxit (he said), third-person singular perfect active of dīcō (say, speak), meaning "he himself said it", a calque of Ancient Greek αὐτός (autos) ἔφα (epha). Originally used by the followers of Pythagoreanism, who claimed this or that proposition to be uttered by Pythagoras himself.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈɪp.sɪ ˈdɪk.sɪt/

Noun[edit]

ipse dixit

  1. (rhetoric) An unproved proposition that is accepted solely on the authority of someone who is known to have asserted it; a dogmatic statement; a dictum.
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, Book V, chapter i
      To avoid, therefore, all imputation of laying down a rule for posterity, founded only on the authority of ipse dixit—for which, to say the truth, we have not the profoundest veneration...
    • 1858 August 21, Stephen A. Douglas, Rejoinder at Ottawa, Illinois
      Mr. Lincoln has not character enough for integrity and truth, merely on his own ipse dixit, to arraign President Buchanan, President Pierce, and nine Judges of the Supreme Court, not one of whom would be complimented by being put on an equality with him. There is an unpardonable presumption in a man putting himself up before thousands of people, and pretending that his ipse dixit, without proof, without fact, and without truth, is enough to bring down and destroy the purest and best of living men.
  2. An authority who makes such an assertion.

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