Is there a name for when a comment or statement has an inferred context, but there is no mention of that context in the comment or statement itself?

For instance, if someone said:

"Remember when people warned against a female president because she might be irrational, vindictive, and prone to mood swings?"

The inferred context is that this is against Trump, and it is implied that he is irrational, vindictive, and prone to mood swings. However none of these connections are made in the question itself.

Many people will used this type of statement in arguments and/or debates, and then fall back on "Well I didn't actually say that, you just heard it that way." when what they actually meant was perfectly clear.

Is there a name for this type of inferred connection or context?

P.S. any political statements used in this question are for reference purposes only, and do not express my views, and do no warrant discussion.

  • I would call it a setup, you set a scene and let the listener complete what you set up. You cannot set up an inference, only imply the true meaning by giving a hint. Also, this setup is called irony in that you know what you imply but act as if you do not know it. Feb 13, 2017 at 20:27
  • Trump is female? Who knew?
    – user175542
    Feb 13, 2017 at 20:52
  • ironically, i suspect you have misunderstood the point. if the context is trump, then the point is not that trump is a bad guy, but that the supposed "female" flaws of irrationality etc. are ok, since he has them all. so it's actually a point in favor of the Donald, rhetorically - it argues that guys like him do that, so it's ok for women to be moody, etc. - they're just like guys!
    – user175542
    Feb 13, 2017 at 21:01
  • @mobileink The OP's opinion is one interpretation, as is yours. I agree that it could be interpreted both ways.
    – Hank
    Feb 13, 2017 at 21:29
  • 1
    Don't you mean an implied context not an inferred one?
    – tchrist
    Feb 13, 2017 at 21:58

1 Answer 1


I would call that type of inferred connect or context an implication:


  • The conclusion that can be drawn from something although it is not explicitly stated

He said they acted voluntarily, adding that there was no implication of fraud.


  • So we could say that the accusation in this case was implied? Feb 13, 2017 at 20:50
  • 2
    Yes, you could also say that the speaker was implying that Trump is irrational, vindictive, and prone to mood swings without actually saying he is.
    – Hank
    Feb 13, 2017 at 20:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.