Pronunciation: /ˈfæl.ə.si/ Explain
Plural - fallacies

A fallacy is a logical argument that appears true but contains errors in logic. One common fallacy in mathematics is dividing by zero. The logic in proof 1 seems to prove that 1 = 2. This is done by dividing by zero.

Erroneous Proof: 1 = 2
10 × 1 = 0
0 × 2 = 0
These are the criteria of the proof.
20 × 1 = 0 × 2 Apply the transitive property of equality.
3( 0 × 1 ) / 0 = ( 0 × 2 ) / 0 Divide both sides by the same quantity. The fallacy is in this step. Division by zero is undefined. In reality both sides of the equation are undefined. Since an undefined is involved, no conclusion can be made.
41 = 2 Cancel the zeros.


  1. McAdams, David E.. All Math Words Dictionary, fallacy. 2nd Classroom edition 20150108-4799968. pg 78. Life is a Story Problem LLC. January 8, 2015. Buy the book
  2. Carroll, Lewis. The Game of Logic. pop 32-36. www.archive.org. Macmillan and Company. 1887. Last Accessed 7/11/2018. http://www.archive.org/stream/gameoflogic00carruoft#page/32/mode/1up. Buy the book
  3. True, Charles K. The elements of logic, adapted to the capacity of younger students, and designed for academies and the higher classes of common schools. revised edition. pp 95-106. www.archive.org. Carlton & Porter. 1861. Last Accessed 7/11/2018. http://www.archive.org/stream/elementsoflogica00trueuoft#page/95/mode/1up/search/fallacy. Buy the book
  4. Nathaniel Bluedorn, Hans Bluedorn, and Johannah Bluedorn. The Fallacy Detective: Thirty-Six Lessons on How to Recognize Bad Reasoning. 2nd edition. Christian Logic. June 30, 2002. Last Accessed 7/11/2018. Buy the book

More Information

  • Classic Fallacies. University of Toronto Mathematics Network. 3/12/2009. http://www.math.toronto.edu/mathnet/plain/falseProofs/fallacies.html.

Cite this article as:

McAdams, David E. Fallacy. 4/21/2019. All Math Words Encyclopedia. Life is a Story Problem LLC. https://www.allmathwords.org/en/f/fallacy.html.

Revision History

4/21/2019: Modified equations and expression to match the new format. (McAdams, David E.)
12/21/2018: Reviewed and corrected IPA pronunication. (McAdams, David E.)
7/9/2018: Removed broken links, updated license, implemented new markup, implemented new Geogebra protocol. (McAdams, David E.)
2/4/2010: Added "References". (McAdams, David E.)
12/29/2008: Added vocabulary link to 'transitive property of equality'. (McAdams, David E.)
8/1/2008: Added vocabulary links 'apply', 'cancel' and 'undefined'. (McAdams, David E.)
6/5/2008: Initial version. (McAdams, David E.)

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