During a discussion on AI, it was asserted that AI is not yet handling very well cases where an indirect, but quite adequate (unless prevaricatory) answer is given.


Person A: Are you going to do that history homework?
Person B: I've just switched on my computer!  

Person A: Are we leaving soon?
Person B: I'm putting on my shoes as we speak.

Both questions are answered yes, but without being explicit. I know there is a single word describing this. I just don't remember it. The word is similar to synecdoche or *-onym.

  • 3
    This question can definitely use some clarification/editing and formating, e.g. "Question: ... Answer:...", because the first two sentences certainly can be spoken by the same person, whereas the second pair are more a Q&A situation between two people. You're asking if there is a formal name for answering a question indirectly, is that right? If so, maybe "answering by implication". Oct 30 '15 at 22:30

Based on a response to this question, maybe the word you were thinking of was "circumlocution," "circumbendibus," or "periphrasis."

Personally, I'd just call it an indirect or implicit response.

  • Not the word I was looking for, the respondent is not doing it with intent of evading the question. But thanks anyway :) Nov 3 '15 at 9:01

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