AskDefine | Define truism

Dictionary Definition

truism n : an obvious truth

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A self-evident or obvious truth.
  2. A banality or cliché.


A self-evident or obvious truth
A banality or cliché

Extensive Definition

A truism is a claim that is so obvious or self-evident as to be hardly worth mentioning, except as a reminder or as a rhetorical or literary device.
In logic, a proposition may be a truism even if it is not a tautology, a restatement of a definition, or a theorem derived from axioms that are generally held to be true. In fact, some would say that such analytic propositions should not be regarded as truisms.
In philosophy, a sentence which asserts incomplete truth conditions for a proposition may be regarded as a truism. An example of such a sentence would be: "Under appropriate conditions, the sun rises." Without contextual support — a statement of what those appropriate conditions are — the sentence is true but uncontestable. A statement which is true by definition ("All cats are mammals.") would also be considered a truism.
Often the word is used to disguise the fact that a proposition is really just a half-truth or an opinion, especially in rhetoric.


  • Some versions of the Anthropic principle, which states that any valid theory of the universe must allow for humans to exist also.
truism in German: Gemeinplatz
truism in Spanish: Lugar común
truism in French: Lapalissade
truism in Russian: Трюизм
truism in Italian: Truismo
truism in Swedish: Truism

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

a priori truth, abstraction, aphorism, apothegm, axiom, banality, brocard, bromide, cliche, commonplace, dictate, dictum, formula, general idea, generalization, generalized proposition, glittering generality, gnome, golden rule, gospel, hackneyed expression, law, lieu commun, locus communis, maxim, moral, platitude, postulate, principium, principle, proposition, prosaicism, prosaism, rubber stamp, rule, self-evident truth, settled principle, shibboleth, sweeping statement, tag, theorem, tired cliche, truth, universal truth, verity
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