Origin of jingle and jangle fallacies

‘To use an illustration given by Thorndike (1904, page 14), the expression “college student,” found so frequently in general discussions, covers a multitude of classes: male and female; part time, full time; extension students and those in residence; native, foreign, lower classmen, upper classmen, graduates; etc. In each connection the expression “college student” sounds the same, and thus we come to treat it as a single concept. Dr. Thorndike quotes Professor Aikins as describing this as the “jingle” fallacy because there is merely a verbal resemblance and no sufficient underlying factual similarity between the classes.

‘Equally contaminating to clear thinking is the use of two separate words or expressions covering in fact the same basic situation, but sounding different, as though they were in truth different. The doing of this latter the writer will call the “jangle” fallacy. “Achievement” and “intelligence” sound as though they were different; they have different “jangles,” and thus we treat them as though they were different in truth.’

– Truman Lee Kelley (1927, pp. 63-64)


Kelley, T. L. (1927). Interpretation of educational measurements. World Book Company.