Morton's fork

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A Morton's fork is a specious piece of reasoning in which contradictory arguments lead to the same conclusion. It is said to have originated with the collecting of taxes by John Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury in the late 15th century, who held that a man living modestly must be saving money and could therefore afford taxes, whereas if he was living extravagantly then he was obviously rich and could still afford them.[1][2]

"Morton's fork coup" is a maneuver in the game of bridge that uses the principle of Morton's Fork.[3][4]

An episode of the TV series Fargo is titled "Morton's Fork", after the dilemma.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Morton's Fork. Oxford English Dictionary. 
  2. ^ Morton's Fork. Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 
  3. ^ Frey et al. (1976). The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge, p. 295. ISBN 0-517-52724-3.
  4. ^ Gray, Robert. The Bridge World, March 1973