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I remember there was a thread here on English.SE this month where someone explained this, but I can't remember how it was called. An example:

Where have you stolen this product?

This question implies that you've stolen this product, although I don't know for a fact you really did.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 12 down vote accepted

That's called a loaded question:

A loaded question is a question which contains a controversial assumption such as a presumption of guilt.

Such questions are used rhetorically, so that the question limits direct replies to be those that serve the questioner's agenda. The traditional example is the question "Have you stopped beating your wife?" Whether the respondent answers yes or no, he will admit to having a wife, and having beaten her at some time in the past.

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I disagree. "Have you stopped beating your wife?" is equivalent to "Is it the case that you have a wife, beat her in the past, and no longer do so?" A response of "no" denies the conjunction of all three claims, not just the last one. The point of such a question is to induce a "yes" answer from a wife-beater who quickly concludes it's the right answer because it at least denies that he continues to beat his wife when in fact it admits the past beatings. (Hence, the stereotypical: "Yes. ... I mean no. ... Crud.") –  David Schwartz Jan 21 '12 at 3:52
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I have heard this type of question refered to as having or posing an "inarguable presupposition". One classic example is "Have you stopped beating your wife?" The presupposition that you beat your wife is assumed by the questioner. (I'm not sure how common this usage is.)

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This appears to be a form of Poisoning the Well; a kind of rhetorical device.

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This is also known as a complex question.

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