What is the correct term for a person who twists facts and provides misinterpretations in an effort to appear infallible?

The kind of person who is given a simple logic puzzle, fails to solve it correctly and tries to persuade others that he was in fact correct e.g. by denying obvious implications that were necessary to be deduced in order to find the correct solution.

  • I would call someone who tries to justify their own actions as "normal", because no matter what behaviour any individual engages in, they have their own logic for doing so, no matter how at odds with other people it may be. But I suppose someone who does it too much one might call self-righteous. Mar 6, 2018 at 22:45

5 Answers 5


Sophism, and by extent, Sophists, are individuals who use logic to twist the meanings of words in order to present themselves in a better light, or otherwise twist logic to suit their needs.

This is the modern day understanding of the word, though it used to carry the meaning of anyone who practiced logical understanding, it has come to mean one who twists logic due to the nature of its abuse.

Today, it holds the meaning of someone who twists logic to their own end.

  • Thanks, that is the word I have used but I was led to believe that sophism is the usage of sophisticated and clever ways of deceiving, ergo leading others into thinking that the argumentation provided by the respondent is valid, while the situation that I described is a pathetic attempt to retain his reputation while in fact doing the exact opposite, because every thinking person sees it as a futile attempt at being smart-alec. :-P Let us see if there is a better way to convey this peculiar setting. :-D Nov 1, 2013 at 20:34
  • 2
    @HaroldCavendish I really enjoyed reading this question and I suspect you may as well.
    – Lumberjack
    Nov 1, 2013 at 20:45

Consider casuist

one skilled in or given to casuistry

Casuistry is defined as

specious argument : rationalization

You also might consider rationalizer, one who attempts

to justify (one's actions, esp discreditable actions, or beliefs) with plausible reasons, esp after the event

However, a rationalizer's explanations generally have an air of plausibility, even when they are an obvious subterfuge.


Weasel is a common slang term for such a person. Urban Dictionary entries lightly edited for grammar and spelling:

  • Shifty, scheming person that will do whatever they need to to escape whatever they fear in the moment.

  • A cunning, sneaky person. On internet forums they are often a liar, fake or poser. Will try to extract information from you to share with others and / or use it against you. Uses shiftiness to evade an obligation, commitment or duty. They will make promises then renege on them.

  • One who is particularly cunning, conniving, shifty, sneaky, scheming and down right sly. Weasels are known for their ability to adapt to any situation and to manipulate it to suit their own weasel ways.

The term is especially appropriate to describe somebody who twists the truth to get something they want or to evade responsibility. There's also a term for the kind of equivocations that weasels use to twist the truth: weasel words. Many style guides exhort writers to avoid weasel words.

  • Weasels and weasel words are essentially the slang version of sophists and sophistry. Nov 1, 2013 at 21:11
  • I would never call a person that feels that they are perfect or always right a weasel. A weasel usually knows they are a weasel. They get in trouble a lot and get out some of the trouble by making up excuses or pointing fingers. I think this word is way off from the question. And even beyond what I mentioned... a weasel doesn't think he is always right, he just wants to get his way. Nov 2, 2013 at 3:59
  • The question isn't asking for somebody who feels that they are perfect or always right. It asks for somebody who twists facts to appear right. That's a weasel. (I think you have misread the question, which would explain why you thought narcissist is an appropriate term.) Nov 2, 2013 at 4:04
  • I don't think you understand. First a weasel isn't just twisting facts. Weasels usually are scheming. Second the title states the person is trying to appear infallible. I can't ever remember a person in any sort of context described as infallible and a weasel. Definitely wouldn't be common use from anywhere in the US I have been. Nov 2, 2013 at 4:10
  • Far from all weasels are scheming. I have seen the word used to describe exactly this sort of person, especially on Usenet and Web forums. Nov 2, 2013 at 4:17

I would call them mumpsimus.

  1. adherence to or persistence in an erroneous use of language, memorization, practice, belief, etc., out of habit or obstinacy (opposed to sumpsimus ).

  2. a person who persists in a mistaken expression or practice (opposed to sumpsimus ).

Another rather quaint slang which I quite like is stiffrump meaning obstinate haughty person - a sanitised version of stiff-arsed.


Perhaps you might mean duplicitous? Which is basically saying one thing (when it suits your immediate purpose) and the opposite, in absolute contradiction (when it suits your later purpose); in the hopes that no one will point out the inconsistency.

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