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Ask-A-Linguist Message Details
|Subject:||Ad Hominem and Insult|
|Question:||Hello. Recently I was arguing with somebody over whether or not Ad Hominem is synonymous with insult since the person I was talking with used them interchangeably. My reasoning was that Ad Hominem is a fallacy meant to denote a fallacious reasoning associated with attacking a person. The person in question told me that any linguist would agree that ''semantic flexibility'' makes his use of Ad Hominem to mean 'insult' is valid. Is this true? Are Ad Hominem and insult interchangeable?|
|Reply:||“Ad hominem” translates as ‘to the person’, as an argument/charge which concerns a person’s character rather than, say, their ideas. So an ad hominem insult is an insult, but other kinds of insult may not target personal character and are therefore not ad hominem. Madalena|
|Reply From:||Madalena Cruz-Ferreira click here to access email|