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chop logic

See also: choplogic and chop-logic



Alternative formsEdit


chop logic (not comparable)

  1. (of an argument, sometimes hyphenated) Characterized by equivocation or by overly complex or specious argumentation; improperly reasoned.
    • 1974, T. E. Kalem, "Bard Becalmed," Time, 1 Jul.:
      Many of the jokes are far past saving and a good bit of the chop logic word play is tedious word work.



chop logic (plural chop logics)

  1. (uncountable, sometimes hyphenated) Chopped logic: reasoning which is improper; sophistry.
    • 1881, Georg Ebers, chapter 4, in The Emperor:
      Mere chop-logic!—you have nothing to say.
    • 1944, "Moses' Masterpiece," Time, 13 Nov.:
      "Up in his ivory tower, the editor of the Times will at last realize that the American people will not be bulldozed, regimented and stripped of their suffrage by fine phrases, chop logic, invitations to the millennium, and the jaded ambitions of indispensable men."
    • 2000, David McKie, "Special report: the hunting debate," The Guardian, 28 Dec. (retrieved 6 June 2008:
      How can one explain the hypocrisy, chop logic and outright lying now being mustered daily in defence of hunting with hounds?
  2. (obsolete, countable, usually hyphenated) A logic chopper: one who makes confusing or specious arguments, especially arguments involving equivocation.
    • 1596, William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, act 3, sc. 5:
      How now, how now, chop-logic! What is this?
      'Proud,' and 'I thank you,' and 'I thank you not;'
      And yet 'not proud,' mistress minion, you,
      Thank me no thankings, nor, proud me no prouds,
      But fettle your fine joints 'gainst Thursday next.


chop logic (third-person singular simple present chops logic, present participle chopping logic, simple past and past participle chopped logic)

  1. To argue skillfully, using complex logic or clever reasoning.
    • 1869, Charlotte M. Yonge, chapter 17, in The Caged Lion:
      When the tables are drawn, you shall hold a disputation with him. It will be sport to hear how you chop logic at your Universities yonder.
    • 1905, "Andrew Lang's Charming Sketches of the English University" (review of Oxford by Andrew Lang), New York Times, 1 Dec.:
      King James delighted to chop logic and theology with the doctors of the university.
    • 2000, Charles A. Lofgren, "Review of Negotiating the Constitution: The Earliest Debates over Original Intent by Joseph. M. Lynch," The Journal of American History, volume 87, no. 3, page 1018:
      Throughout, Lynch ably chops logic and tests positions for their fit with the Constitution's text.
  2. To make an argument which is illogical, especially one which is overly complex or which improperly uses fine or clever distinctions; to equivocate.
    • 1866, Elizabeth Gaskell, chapter 24, in Wives and Daughters:
      If you are going to chop logic and use Latin words, I think it is time for us to leave the room.
    • 1940, J. Whatmough, "Review of Varro on the Latin Language: With an English Translation by Roland G. Kent," Classical Philology, volume 35, no. 1, page 85:
      Varro, as Kent remarks (p. 418, n.f), is by no means logical in every detail; he merely chops logic when he declares that curro lacks the perfect participle.
    • 1949, Earl Latham, "Lament for Cement: Being an Answer to a Reply," The Yale Law Journal, volume 58, no. 7, page 1089:
      After the authors have chopped logic, ignored pages, and nibbled at words, the fact remains that the Commission in the Cement case did describe a structure of private government organized to protect an economic security system against hostile groups.

Usage notesEdit

  • The verb "to chop logic" is a contranym (i.e., a term which is its own antonym). In one sense, it means "to argue properly" and, in another sense, "to argue improperly."

Derived termsEdit