ad hominem

Exam frequency





Civil Services



directed against a person rather than their argument(s)

Check Icon How to Memorize

ad hominem - personal

Check Icon Analysis

The formal word ‘ad hominem’ has become quite popular in modern political discourse, particularly since the rise of social media. It expresses an emotion-driven and anti-intellectual form of criticism or debating that ignores the argument somebody has made and instead focuses on attacking their character. This is done as a malicious and disingenuous way of claiming a cheap victory and appeals purely to emotion rather than reason.

Synonyms unscrupulous
Antonyms pertinent,bona fide

Check Icon Example(s)

  1. Why don’t you actually try to refute what Tim has said instead of just launching into an expletive-ridden ad hominem attack?

  2. At the debate, the two politicians barely discussed their policies. They just engaged in petty ad hominem rhetoric.

  3. Bringing up my failed marriage to score cheap points against me is pathetic. Do you have anything to offer other than ad hominem arguments?

Related Links