ad hominem

An ad hominem remark appeals to personal feelings instead of logical reasons. If you're debating labor laws and you criticize your opponent's extra-marital affair instead of engaging his ideas, that's an ad hominem attack.

Ad hominem is a phrase from Latin which means "aimed at the man." It's almost always used to describe a way of arguing or criticizing that ignores the larger issues at hand and just attacks someone's character. Unfortunately, political battles in the media often boil down to ad hominem attacks instead of thoughtful debate.

Definitions of ad hominem
  1. adjective
    appealing to personal considerations (rather than to fact or reason)
    ad hominem arguments”
    concerning or affecting a particular person or his or her private life and personality
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week