Latin fallacia, from fallac-, fallax deceitful, from fallere to deceive
- Date: 14th century
- 1 a obsolete : guile, trickery
- 2 a : a false or mistaken idea <popular fallacies>
- b : erroneous character : erroneousness
In logic and rhetoric, a fallacy is a misconception resulting from incorrect reasoning in argumentation. By accident or design, fallacies may exploit emotional triggers in the listener or interlocutor (e.g. appeal to emotion), or take advantage of social relationships between people (e.g. argument from authority). Fallacious arguments are often structured using rhetorical patterns that obscure the logical argument, making fallacies more difficult to diagnose. Also, the components of the fallacy may be spread out over separate arguments.