I was translating some Spanish and found myself wanting a word for "possessing verisimilitude". My first thought was "verisimilitudinous", but some research revealed that "verisimilar" is also a word. The dictionaries I've checked don't seem clear on any distinction between the two (or between "verisimilitude" and "verisimilarity").

Wiktionary defines "verisimilitudinous" as "appearing to be verisimilar; exhibiting verisimilitude, in either a neutral or a dubious sense" and "verisimilar" as "Appearing to be true or real; probable; likely" (i.e. exhibiting verisimilitude). Merriam-Webster online defines "verisimilar" as "having the appearance of truth" and redirects "verisimilitudinous" to "verisimilitude", which is defined using "verisimilar".

Is there a difference between them?

  • 1
    Thanks and which dictionaries did you check, and what did they suggest, please? – Robbie Goodwin Jun 12 '18 at 23:22
  • @RobbieGoodwin See my edit – rlms Jun 13 '18 at 11:36
  • Thanks and still, can you not explain why you don't or do see a differrence? Otherwise, you're basically asking ELU to act as your dictionary… – Robbie Goodwin Jun 13 '18 at 21:49
  • @RobbieGoodwin Merriam-Webster implies that they have the same meaning as it defines verisimilitude in terms of verisimilarity, whereas the "appearing to be verisimilar" and "in... a dubious sense" parts of Wiktionary's definition of verisimilitudinous suggest a difference. I am perfectly capable of reading dictionary definitions; I was hoping that someone here would know something relevant about different/same usage of the words. – rlms Jun 15 '18 at 10:47
  • Please take this seriously, or drop it. What Merriam-Webster actually said is what I was asking. What you infer Merriam-Webster might have meant is worth what? There could be such a word as "verisimilitudinous", and would that not be more an exercise in mechanical possibility than any kind of linguistic reality? For instance, since we recognise “antidisestablishmentarianism” we ought, mechanically, to recognise “antidisestablishmentarianistic” but do we? Google it! I suggest "verisimilitudinous" has roughly the same value in language as “antidisestablishmentarianistic”. – Robbie Goodwin Jun 22 '18 at 18:26

On the distinction between between verisimilitude and verisimilarity. Univ.Houston

Oxford English Dictionary: [from Latin: "like truth"]

verisimilar verisimilarity: Having the appearance or semblance of truth or reality; appearing true or real; possible.

ie possible!


verisimilitude: The fact or quality of being verisimilar; the appearance of being true or real; likeness or resemblance to truth, reality, or fact; probability.

ie probable!

I was taught to use 'very similar', avoiding the use of verisimilar so as to not sound like i knew a comparison to be fact based. In fact one reference says of verisimilar-arity: it's not a english word. 'Verisimilitude' lends more ... similitude! More fact and/orreality based than the casual very similar.

As in:

The comparison of the two seemed to be very similar ... The comparison of the two revealed a distinct verisimilitude.

  • It's not clear what you intend by these two definitions. Canyou explicitly compare them? How are they different and how the same? What do you mean by 'very similar' which sounds awfully like 'verisimilar'; you're not saying why you avoid 'verisimilar'. This all would help understand by 'with the above in mind' because currently there is no claim made to have in mind. – Mitch Jun 13 '18 at 14:02
  • @Mitch i edited in an attempt to be more clear. indeed verisimilar to my sense can be mis-heard or read as verisimilitude. If my answer is salvageable i would ask you edit, suggest edits or rec deletion. – lbf Jun 13 '18 at 14:43

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