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From Ancient Greek ἔλεγχος (élenkhos, refutation, scrutiny).


elenchus (uncountable)

  1. (rhetoric) A technique of argument associated with Socrates wherein the arguer asks the interlocutor to agree with a series of premises and conclusions, ending with the arguer's intended point.
    • 1991, Thomas c. Brickhouse and Nicholas D. Smith, “Socrates’ Elenctic Mission”, in Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, Volume IX (1991),[1] Oxford University Press, ↑ISBN, page 131–132:
      The elenchus begins when an interlocutor makes some moral claim that Socrates wishes to examine. The argument then proceeds from premisses that express certain of the interlocutor’s other beliefs to a conclusion that contradicts the original moral claim under scrutiny.


Related terms[edit]



From Ancient Greek ἔλεγχος (élenkhos, refutation, scrutiny), from Proto-Indo-European *h₁lemgʰ- (to accuse, to scold).



elenchus m (genitive elenchī); second declension

  1. costly trinket (especially an earring)
  2. refutation


Second declension.

Case Singular Plural
nominative elenchus elenchī
genitive elenchī elenchōrum
dative elenchō elenchīs
accusative elenchum elenchōs
ablative elenchō elenchīs
vocative elenche elenchī


  • elenchus in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • elenchus in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • du Cange, Charles (1883), “elenchus”, in G. A. Louis Henschel, Pierre Carpentier, Léopold Favre, editors, Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (in Latin), Niort: L. Favre
  • elenchus in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire Illustré Latin-Français [Illustrated Latin-French Dictionary], Hachette
  • elenchus in Harry Thurston Peck, editor (1898) Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • elenchus in Ramminger, Johann (accessed 16 July 2016) Neulateinische Wortliste: Ein Wörterbuch des Lateinischen von Petrarca bis 1700[2], pre-publication website, 2005-2016
  • elenchus in William Smith et al., editor (1890) A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, London: William Wayte. G. E. Marindin