There's a French expression that means "ascribing negative intentions to someone with no factual base" (prêter des intentions). It's practical, as the English sentence "stop ascribing negative intentions to me based on your interpretation of my words" is quite a long way to say something that is quite simple in some other languages.

Is there any similar expression in English?

  • The French surely have a je ne sais quoi with words ;) Commented Jul 18, 2011 at 17:34

4 Answers 4


A person who derives an interpretation incorrectly, or from ambiguous data without seeking clarification, is jumping to conclusions.

A person who does it intentionally is maligning or impugning (thanks, @TheRaven).


The word "impugn" functions that way:

"Stop impugning my words."

To a certain extent, "mischaracterize" and "misjudge" have a similar nuance.


I can suggest the word insinuate in terms of "implying a negative or unspoken fact"

b : to impart or suggest in an artful or indirect way : imply

I resent what you're insinuating

A phrase for you is "twisting my words"

twist someone's words (around)

to restate someone's words inaccurately; to misrepresent what someone has said.

Stop twisting my words around! Listen to what I am telling you! You are twisting my words again. That is not what I said!


For words, "putting words in my/your mouth".. otherwise, I think distrustful fits. But also faultfinding or even cynical?

The word pessimist may work too, but generally.

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