What does counterfactual mean?

Definitions for counterfactual

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word counterfactual.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. counterfactual, contrary to factadjective

    going counter to the facts (usually as a hypothesis)


  1. counterfactualnoun

    A claim, hypothesis, or other belief that is contrary to the facts.

  2. counterfactualnoun

    A conditional statement in which the conditional clause is false, as "If I had arrived on time . . .".

  3. counterfactualadjective

    Contrary to the facts; untrue.


  1. counterfactual

    Counterfactual conditionals (also subjunctive or X-marked) are conditional sentences which discuss what would have been true under different circumstances, e.g. "If Peter believed in ghosts, he would be afraid to be here." Counterfactuals are contrasted with indicatives, which are generally restricted to discussing open possibilities. Counterfactuals are characterized grammatically by their use of fake tense morphology, which some languages use in combination with other kinds of morphology including aspect and mood. Counterfactuals are one of the most studied phenomena in philosophical logic, formal semantics, and philosophy of language. They were first discussed as a problem for the material conditional analysis of conditionals, which treats them all as trivially true. Starting in the 1960s, philosophers and linguists developed the now-classic possible world approach, in which a counterfactual's truth hinges on its consequent holding at certain possible worlds where its antecedent holds. More recent formal analyses have treated them using tools such as causal models and dynamic semantics. Other research has addressed their metaphysical, psychological, and grammatical underpinnings, while applying some of the resultant insights to fields including history, marketing, and epidemiology.

How to pronounce counterfactual?

How to say counterfactual in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of counterfactual in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of counterfactual in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

Examples of counterfactual in a Sentence

  1. Erik Pevernagie:

    We can question our history with counterfactual queries. “What if” we had rebuffed, accepted or changed certain features in the script of our life? By reviewing the different stages of our personal story, we can find out, whether we have owned our life or just have been lived. ("Was it what life was about?")

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for counterfactual

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for counterfactual »


Find a translation for the counterfactual definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"counterfactual." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 23 Mar. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/counterfactual>.

Discuss these counterfactual definitions with the community:


    Are we missing a good definition for counterfactual? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Browse Definitions.net

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!


    Are you a words master?

    an onerous or difficult concern
    • A. encumbrance
    • B. vigorish
    • C. leaven
    • D. elan

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for counterfactual: