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From casuist +‎ -ry. First recorded use in 1725.


  • IPA(key): /ˈkæʒuɪstɹi/, /ˈkæzjuɪstɹi/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: ca‧su‧ist‧ry
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Particularly: "UK"


casuistry (countable and uncountable, plural casuistries)

  1. The process of answering practical questions via interpretation of rules, or of cases that illustrate such rules, especially in ethics; case-based reasoning.
    • 1968, Sidney Monas (translator), Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment 1866.
      And yet it would seem that the whole analysis he had made, his attempt to find a moral solution to the problem, was complete. His casuistry had been honed to a razor’s edge, and he could no longer think of any objections.
    • 1995, Richard Powers, Galatea 2.2
      “And if you lose?” Diana enunciated, through a thin grin. She meant to extract casuistry’s penalty in advance.
  2. (derogatory) A specious argument designed to defend an action or feeling.


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