Looking for a word: essentially, it should be a noun. Described as: turning well-intended actions into ill-intended actions in rhetoric (i.e., by committing intentional fallacies or disrupting the counterpart). Possible definition: "the process by which descriptions of actions are turned into accusations". Also, a good synonym?

Let's look at an example, then:

I think you're really good at '~ion'--painting things in a positive light, or at least remaining optimistic. It's the opposite of '~ion', whereby people turn my past against me, or insist on pessimism.


Reticence or interdiction; veto or blackballing; repudiation, rejection, or derision; counfouding, contrition, or impeding?


I'm really looking for an utterance that encompasses the initial state of neutrality or even goodness. While demonizing and vilification fit, I'm hesitant to concede that they imply a full transformation, exclusively in delusion, from good to evil. I'm trying to put a word to this thing I've noticed that so many people seem to do: it's the opposite of coping: it's some mechanism of hysteria or obstruction/disruption--some kind of mayhem. It's important to me that I be able to find a concise, descriptive phrase (it doesn't need to be a single word).

Update 2

I went with swaying, from Robert Frost's 'The Sound of Trees'. I think it captures the essence of what I'm looking for and encapsulates everything else mentioned. I was basically seeking a hyponym for the other words listed that had to do with people throwing off their responsibilities, if even by turning negative to positive. If anyone has other terms that are more widely known, please update your answers or add a new answer. Thank you.

  • 1
    I think you might need to add an example. Sort of like Why don't you put the children to sleep? but when read with an evil intention it sounds like you mean infanticide ?
    – Frank
    Apr 30, 2014 at 10:18
  • @Frank More like, after you put the kids to sleep, you're thinking, {accomplished} "Great, I finally got them to sleep!" But your spouse says {hurt/angry} "You put the children to sleep!" Essentially, everything becomes an accusation. Apr 30, 2014 at 10:40
  • I like the other words I have seen in this thread better, but I did want to give you one simple, accurate response: demonizing. de·mon·ize ˈdēməˌnīz/ verb portray as wicked and threatening. "seeking to demonize one side in the conflict" Apr 30, 2014 at 11:04
  • @APrejean It's great, but ..., what about an antonym? Apr 30, 2014 at 11:07
  • can·on·ize [kan-uh-nahyz] Just because it makes you think of the church, doesn't mean that is its only usage: 2. to glorify. Apr 30, 2014 at 11:22

5 Answers 5


I think the simple answer to your question is perversion.

the process of affecting something good or right in a negative way so that it becomes something bad or wrong

But I also think the general term distortion (or twist) works here too but it can go both ways.

the action of giving a misleading account or impression.


... vilify ... I guess ... you need context to say that .. heheh

Don't vilify me! Your compassion is revolting. I would rather you say so much as doing.

  • Right, well vilification because we're looking for a noun. Interesting choice. Very interesting choice. I'm wondering if this is a good choice even for inanimate and abstract objects.... Hmm.... Apr 30, 2014 at 10:43
  • Agreed that you should edit it to make it a noun. Apr 30, 2014 at 18:27

Someone can put the worst possible construction on your action, see it in a negative light or intentionally misinterpret it. They can also set you up to fail or frame you. They can denigrate, slander, smear, badmouth, defame and libel you. They can also project their failures / faults / shortcomings onto you, as well as {see / look for} evil where there is none.

  • Yeah. Take all that, clump it together into one word, and what do you get? Basically, 'doing anything possible to create a negative relationship and interpret things poorly'.... May 3, 2014 at 0:18

You might want to consider "diabolization" and "denigration."

diabolize: to represent as or make diabolical.

denigrate: to treat or represent as lacking in value or importance,; belittle; disparage -- also: to make black; blacken.


This sounds like innuendo.

An innuendo is an insinuation or intimation about a person or thing, especially of a disparaging or a derogatory nature. It can also be a remark or question, typically disparaging (also called insinuation), that works obliquely by allusion.

In the latter sense the intention is often to insult or accuse someone in such a way that one's words, taken literally, are innocent.

The term sexual innuendo has acquired a specific meaning, namely that of a "risqué" double entendre by playing on a possibly sexual interpretation of an otherwise innocent uttering.

For example: "We need to go deeper" can be seen as both a request for further inquiry on any given issue or a request to go deeper into an orifice.

Examples: (from the book "Perspectives on Semantics, Pragmatics, and Discourse" edited by Ferenc Kiefer, István Kenesei, Robert M. Harnish)

From Fischer(1970): A ship captain, annoyed by his first-mate's drunkenness, wrote in the daily log, "The first-mate was drunk all day." The first-mate took issue with this entry, and the next day wrote, "The captain was sober all day."

A conversation between administrator over the merits of having a particular teacher serve as a guidance counselor on sex education for high school boys. One said, "Well, I would certainly agree that Mr. Jenkins is quite qualified to discuss all aspects of homosexual behavior."


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