Though the title asks the main question, I will give an example.

Imagine a tabloid, which wants to defame a famous personality, say Abraham Lincoln or Michael Jackson. The writers know that, just criticism won't be sufficient. Hence they provide some good & truthful information about them. Along with it, they also insert their own un-verified information which they think is correct.

In day to day life: In college, 2 friends have a verbal spat in front of others. 1 of them decides to defame other by wrong means. Hence he/she tells like this, "Though you might be a good student & sport person, what you have done today is unpardonable."
Now such statement will excite many against the receiving person, as the initial information given about him/her was true. Hence they tend to believe, that the remaining information also should be true.

Is there any English term for such entity or activity?

According to this answer, half truth seems quite matching. However, above examples can be extended beyond single person. i.e. If someone prefers US Republic party over Democratic party, then they may say something like this: "Democratic candidates like Bill Clinton & Obama were greats! Hillary is no match to them." Or a person not having much knowledge about boxing can state like: "Muhammad Ali was amazing. Mike Tyson is nothing in front of him."

Here, it's "complete praise" followed by "complete criticism". There is nothing half-half. So even though, one doesn't like "Democratic" party, they praise its previous candidates to insult current candidate.

Note: If anything not clear, I would be happy to edit my question.

  • 1
    The accuser tries to establish his bona fides as an objective critic by offering some praise of the person while at the same time promoting a lie? Or is it merely an unverified allegation which they believe to be true?
    – TimR
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 13:08
  • @TimRomano, Good explanation! Kind of both mixed. That can be a known lie or unknown lie. The main point is that: "The accuser tries to establish his bona fides as an objective critic by offering some praise, for the same person or via different person."
    – iammilind
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 13:13
  • A pre-emptive concessive. Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 13:32
  • I could almost see it being called a red herring.
    – TsSkTo
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 17:28

3 Answers 3


You could consider using half-truth that means:

A deceptive statement, especially one that is only partly true, is incomplete, misrepresents reality by telling part of the truth, or alters the time sequence of truths.


Usage example:

Some forms of half-truths are an inescapable part of politics in representative democracies. The reputation of a political candidate can be irreparably damaged if they are exposed in a lie, so a complex style of language has evolved to minimise the chance of this happening. If someone has not said something, they cannot be accused of lying. As a consequence, politics has become a world where half-truths are expected, and political statements are rarely accepted at face value.

[Wikipedia article on half-truth]

  • +1 for the effort, but, uh, no. There's a word, I'm just too tired right now.
    – Ricky
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 11:33
  • @Ricky Half-lie? Two-thirds truth? One-third truth?
    – user140086
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 11:34
  • No. It's a single word, I think, that means a lie you slip in, or sneak in, or something.
    – Ricky
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 11:36
  • 1
    @Ricky Aren't you supposed to sleep now?
    – user140086
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 11:37
  • Yeah. The word should be Greek or Latinate. Sweet dreams, yo.
    – Ricky
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 11:39

Conflate: (verb) combine (two or more texts, ideas, etc.) into one.

Conflating of truth and fiction fits the situations which you gave as examples.


How about mistruth?

Mistruth, if it’s even a word, is an interesting one.

You won’t find it at Merriam-Webster Online. It’s not in Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (Unabridged) either. MS Word is okay with it but Blogger's spell checker is not.

Scrabblefinder and similar sources say it is a legitimate Scrabble word, but they don’t provide a definition for it. Lexic.us defines it as “a lie” and offers examples of its use dating back to 1823. Wiktionary defines it as “untruth, falsehood.” You can find many examples of its use and, from context, that is how most writers seem to mean it, as synonymous with lie.

Only Urban Dictionary defines it differently, as “a statement that is true yet misleading.” They give as an example of its use, “Our web site is dedicated to dispel the mistruths propagated in their campaign.” That’s a pretty lousy sentence and it could easily be taken either way.

Still, we need a word like mistruth, the way Urban Dictionary defines it. Statements that are technically true but misleading are mainstays of political rhetoric and all forms of marketing, for whiskey and pretty much everything else. Marketers can be punished for untruths but mistruths (again, as Urban Dictionary defines them) get a lot more slack. [...] Chuck Cowdery Blogspot

  • There is so much of text in the answer. Is it possible to keep the most relevant text for the novices like me? :-). Does the meaning of mis-truth to be taken as deceptive?
    – iammilind
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 11:39
  • @iammilind Yes, it means pretty much the same as "astutely deceptive/misleading."
    – Elian
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 12:23

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