The scenario is I'm talking about a particular thing. You are talking about the precise same thing. We are arguing about it because we don't realize that we are talking about the same thing.

Basically, using different words to talk about the same thing. But, we don't understand each other. There is a single word that describes this scenario. I can't remember it.

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    I don't think I understand what you are looking for: a noun? an adjective? a verb? Could you write a sentence, with blanks where the word would be used? – Centaurus Dec 17 '14 at 22:32
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    We typically call this being in violent agreement – Jim Dec 17 '14 at 23:34
  • I like that; "in violent agreement", awesome. – Barry-Jon Sep 24 '15 at 9:36

When a person realises that two parties are arguing (even though they are really agreed on the matter under discussion) merely because they're using different terminology, the comment

'That's just semantics'

is often made.

This hinges on the sense given by AHD:

  1. The meaning or the interpretation of a word, sentence, or other language form

and is short for

'You're basically in agreement about the issue, but you're not seeing that because you're using words in different ways.'

  • Thank you Mr. Ashworth. But, a follow-up question, if you please? Is there a word for the argument itself? Not for the dissent, but for the whole scenario of having the "argument that's not a disagreement"? – Pam Dec 17 '14 at 22:51
  • I suppose this sense of logomachy {at FreeDictionary} 2. a contention marked by the careless or incorrect use of words; a meaningless battle of words. [Copyright 2008 The Gale Group] could be used. I wouldn't. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 17 '14 at 23:00
  • Thank you so much. And, uh, I don't think I would use that word either. It's not very pretty as words go and who the heck would know what I was saying anyway?! Thanks again, Happy Holidays! – Pam Dec 18 '14 at 0:17

One word that describes this is 'paraphrase' when the same subject is described in a different way. I am not sure that is what you are looking for.


It's not a single word, but "talking at cross purposes" captures what you want to say, I think.

Being of a mathematical bent, I might say "talking orthogonally" would fulfill the single-word requirement, but I don't think the use of this word (that literally means "at right angles") is that common in this context.

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    Talking at cross purposes is exactly the opposite of what the OP is describing. Talking at cross purposes is when you are both talking about something different but think you are talking about the same thing. – Barry-Jon Sep 24 '15 at 9:36
  • You're talking in right angles, where people are dissecting each other. I think if you wrote, talking in parallel that would mean you're both talking on the same axis in the same direction. – Jeremy Thompson 3 hours ago

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