Name-calling is a form of argument in which insulting or demeaning labels are directed at an individual or group. This phenomenon is studied by a variety of academic disciplines such as anthropology, child psychology, and political science. It is also studied by rhetoricians, and a variety of other disciplines.

In politics and public opinion

Politicians sometimes resort to name-calling during political campaigns or public events with the intentions of gaining advantage over, or defending themselves from, an opponent or critic. Often such name-calling takes the form of labelling an opponent as an unreliable and untrustworthy source, such as use of the term "flip-flopper".

Common misconceptions

Gratuitous verbal abuse or "name-calling" is not on its own an example of the abusive argumentum ad hominem logical fallacy.[1][2][3][4][5] The fallacy occurs only if personal attacks are employed to devalue a speaker's argument by attacking the speaker; personal insults in the middle of an otherwise sound argument are not fallacious ad hominem attacks.


  1. ^ "The Ad Hominem Fallacy Fallacy". Archived from the original on 2013-08-14. Retrieved 2013-07-27.
  2. ^ "Logical Fallacy: Argumentum ad Hominem". Retrieved 2013-07-27.
  3. ^ Ad hominem fallacy, Logical Fallacies, Formal and Informal, Independent Individualist.
  4. ^ "AdHominem". Archived from the original on 2013-08-18. Retrieved 2013-07-27.
  5. ^ "Logical Fallacies» Ad Hominem (Personal Attack)". Retrieved 2013-07-27.