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From Latin colligatio.


colligation (countable and uncountable, plural colligations)

  1. A binding together.
    • 1646/50, Sir Thomas Browne, Pseudodoxia Epidemica:
      These therefore the midwife cutteth off, contriving them into a knot close unto the body of the Infant; from whence ensueth that tortuosity or complicated nodosity we usually call the Navell; occasioned by the colligation of the vessels before mentioned.
  2. (logic) The formulation of a general hypothesis which seeks to connect two or more facts.
    • 2011, Laura J. Snyder, The Philosophical Breakfast Club Broadway Books, page 252 (in a discussion of William Whewell's Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences, Founded upon Their History (1840))
      In order to have knowledge of the physical world, we use our ideas and concepts as the "thread" on which we string the facts about the world, the "pearls." We do this by a process Whewell called colligation.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of John Stuart Mill to this entry?)
  3. (linguistics) The co-occurrence of syntactic categories, usually within a sentence.

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