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


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


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. (pejorative) A specious argument designed to defend an action or feeling.


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