Appeal to spite

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An appeal to spite (Latin: argumentum ad odium)[1] 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 that 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 disfavored party is assumed.


  • "Why shouldn't prisoners do hard labor? The places are full of scumbags!"
  • "Stop that recycling! Aren't we tired of Hollywood celebrities preaching about saving the Earth?"
  • "Why should they even have more? I got nothing from the state and look at what I had to give off to pay for my own studies!"
  • "Not the opera, Hitler loved that, let's go to the circus instead."


  1. ^ Curtis, G. N. "Emotional Appeal". Appeal to Hatred (AKA, Argumentum ad Odium)