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In other words, the correct answer to the question is actually NOT the simple answer that first comes to mind.

I remember coming across the word a few years back but have forgotten it since. If memory serves, the word begins with "in-". But I could very well be wrong.

Would be grateful to have your suggestions. Thanks! :)

marked as duplicate by FumbleFingers single-word-requests Dec 7 '15 at 19:10

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  • 2
    One possibility is "deceptively simple". Many times crossword clues are designed this way; there is an easy answer that fits, but it's not the right one. – Brian Hitchcock Jan 15 '15 at 9:12
  • Probably the best answer, @Brian. But you need certain verbs (look, seem ...) to license 'deceptively simple' with this sense. 'Simple' and 'This question' say are non-intersective in this construction (This question appears deceptively simple). 'It looks deceptively simple' means 'It looks simple, but it's not'. If we used 'This question is deceptively simple', 'it' and 'simple' are intersective; the question is simple but doesn't appear to be at first sight. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 15 '15 at 10:56
  • Thanks guys, but I was really looking for one word - a [blank] question. Any ideas? :) – user106263 Jan 15 '15 at 11:29
  • Well put. I refer you to Professor Paul Brians' article on "deceptively" in Common Errors in English Usage. public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/deceptively.html Like him, I believe that it can be ambiguous; I don't agree that it must be taken as 'intersective', as you put it. – Brian Hitchcock Jan 15 '15 at 11:53

"Counter-intuitive" contains "in", though it refers more naturally to the answer than the question.


Perhaps the question could be considered disingenuous. One of the meanings is

Pretending to be unaware or unsophisticated; faux-naïf. American Heritage

Note that the term is often used to indicate intentionally deceptive, rather than innocently misleading.

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