I get the Merriam-Webster Word of the Day emailed to me. It always includes a definition, examples, and fun facts. I was THRILLED to see that The Messenger was quoted today! Way to go, Richard Hermann!
Word of the Day
appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect
marked by or being an attack on an opponent's character rather than by an answer to the contentions made
The governor's only response to the criticism of his new policy was to launch an ad hominem attack against those doing the criticizing.
"This democratization of the online media comment world results in both a lot of angry, nasty and downright insulting ad hominem attacks, followed quickly by ad hominem
attacks by email commentators on each other that make for salty and
entertaining, if not particularly edifying, reading." — From an
editorial by Richard Hermann in the Daily Messenger (Canandaigua, New York), August 30, 2012
"Ad hominem" literally means "to the person" in New Latin (Latin as
first used in post-medieval texts). In centuries past, this adjective
usually modified "argument." An "argument ad hominem" (or "argumentum ad
hominem," to use the full New Latin phrase) was a valid method of
persuasion by which a person took advantage of his or her opponent's
interests or feelings in a debate, instead of just sticking to general
principles. The newer sense of "ad hominem," which suggests an attack on
an opponent's character instead of his or her argument, appeared only
in the last century, but it is the sense more often heard today. The
word still refers to putting personal issues above other matters, but
perhaps because of its old association with "argument," "ad hominem" has
become, in effect, "against the person."