Accused of a fallacy? Suspect a fallacy? Ask Dr. Bo and the community!

Quickly register to comment, ask and respond to questions, and get FREE access to our passive online course on cognitive biases!

one moment please...

Questions? Friendly Debate? Deep Conversations? Be a Call-in Guest on the Dr. Bo Show!

Proof by Intimidation

argumentum verbosium

(also known as: proof by verbosity, fallacy of intimidation)

Description: Making an argument purposely difficult to understand in an attempt to intimidate your audience into accepting it, or accepting an argument without evidence or being intimidated to question the authority or a priori assumptions of the one making the argument.

Logical Form:

Claim A is made by person 1.

Person 1 is very intimidating.

Therefore, claim A is true.

Example #1:

Professor Xavier says that the egg certainly came before the chicken.  He won the Nobel prize last year for his work in astronomy, and the MMA world championship -- so I don’t dare question his claim. 

Explanation: Professor X sure sounds like a brilliant and tough guy, but that is not evidence for his claim.

Example #2:

Dr. Professor Pete said, with the utmost eloquence, masterful stage presence, and unshakable confidence, that 1+1=3.  Therefore, 1+1=3.

Explanation: Despite the intellectually intimidating presence of Dr. Professor Pete, 1+1 still equals 2.

Exception: If you live in a state where you can be killed for asking questions, then this is not a fallacy, but a survival technique.

Tip: If you live in a state where you can be killed for asking questions, move.


Terrell, D. B. (1967). Logic: A Modern Introduction to Deductive Reasoning. Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Registered User Comments

Krista Neckles
Thursday, March 29, 2018 - 03:42:50 PM
Hello Sir,

Suppose I am convincing someone to do something, and I have no good arguments. Instead, I use yelling/shouting as a tactic. Then the other person gives in. Would such behavior be an example of proof by intimidation?

Thank you

login to reply
1 reply
0 votes
Reply To Comment

Bo Bennett, PhD
Thursday, March 29, 2018 - 03:59:44 PM

login to reply
0 votes
Reply To Comment

GP King
Saturday, March 10, 2018 - 06:09:58 PM
You should add a section here on the Gish Gallop. You'll just need a longer page! :D

login to reply
0 replies
0 votes
Reply To Comment

Become a Logical Fallacy Master. Choose Your Poison.

Logically Fallacious is one of the most comprehensive collections of logical fallacies with all original examples and easy to understand descriptions; perfect for educators, debaters, or anyone who wants to improve his or her reasoning skills.

Get the book, Logically Fallacious by Bo Bennett, PhD by selecting one of the following options:

Not Much of a Reader? No Problem!

Enroll in the Mastering Logical Fallacies Online Course. Over 10 hours of video and interactive learning. Go beyond the book!

Enroll in the Fallacy-A-Day Passive Course. Sit back and learn fallacies the easy way—in just a few minutes per day, via e-mail delivery.

Have a podcast or know someone who does? Putting on a conference? Dr. Bennett is available for interviews and public speaking events. Contact him directly here.

About Archieboy Holdings, LLC. Privacy Policy Other Books Written by Bo
 Website Software Copyright 2019, Archieboy Holdings, LLC.