Appeal to spite  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

An appeal to spite (also called argumentum ad odium) is a fallacy in which someone attempts to win favor for an argument by exploiting existing feelings of bitterness, spite, or schadenfreude in the opposing party. It is an attempt to sway the audience emotionally by associating a hate-figure with opposition to the speaker's argument.

Fallacious ad hominem arguments which attack villains holding the opposing view are often confused with appeals to spite. The ad hominem can be a similar appeal to a negative emotion, but differs from it in directly criticizing the villain —that is unnecessary in an appeal to spite, where hatred for the villain is assumed.


  • Why shouldn't prisoners be forced to do hard labor? Prisons are full of scumbags!
  • "Stop recycling! Aren't you tired of Hollywood celebrities preaching to everyone about saving the Earth?"
  • Why should benefits for certain students be reinstated, when I got nothing from the state and had to sacrifice to pay for my studies?

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Appeal to spite" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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