2

You may experience people doing this intentionally (to some extent) in law, politics, religion, or many different areas where they speak vaguely so that they are correct in at least one interpretation of their words. What you think they are meaning may not be the one way in which they are actually correct.

Someone also may do this unintentionally where they use words with more than one meaning or they just overuse general nouns / personal pronouns (she went to that place to get some stuff). They may say "she went to the store" when you ask where someone is, but they might mean a different individual than the one you were asking about.

Someone may speak with an assumed (but not explicitly defined) context.

Statistics that are misleading due to no explanation of the data presented, like "4/5 dentists suggest X toothpaste" but it isn't mentioned how many dentists were asked, where these dentist offices are, if they were paid for their answers, etc.

  • These are enthymemes, perhaps. – Dan Bron Mar 14 '17 at 16:30
  • The thing not included may be called a lurking variable. – vickyace Mar 14 '17 at 16:34
  • Commonly, doing this deliberately is called spin (see Oxford noun and verb sense 3). – Andrew Leach Mar 14 '17 at 16:34
  • How can you call that anything more definite than 'incomplete'? As posted '4/5 dentists suggest X toothpaste' appears to be accurate and self-consistent. It makes no difference how many dentists were asked, where these dentist offices are, whether they were paid for their answers or anything like that. The statement itself is true or it's not. You seem to be strongly suggesting that if it's not, that's because something is missing. If the statement is untrue because incomplete that's a sin of omission… if the omission is deliberate and intended to decieve, that's also bad. – Robbie Goodwin Mar 25 '17 at 21:42
2

You may experience people doing this intentionally (to some extent) in law, politics, religion, or many different areas where they speak vaguely so that they are correct in at least one interpretation of their words. What you think they are meaning may not be the one way in which they are actually correct.

Deceptive/Deceitful statement(s)

Someone also may do this unintentionally where they use words with more than one meaning or they just overuse general nouns / personal pronouns (she went to that place to get some stuff). They may say "she went to the store" when you ask where someone is, but they might mean a different individual than the one you were asking about.

Presupposition misunderstanding

Statistics that are misleading due to no explanation of the data presented, like "4/5 dentists suggest X toothpaste" but it isn't mentioned how many dentists were asked, where these dentist offices are, if they were paid for their answers, etc.

Ambiguous statistics

2

Intentional ambiguity is the use of language or images to suggest more than one meaning at the same time, esp. in a poem. (Definition of “ambiguity” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
(source: Google)


Consider also synonyms of ambiguity such as evasiveness, prevarication or equivocation.

0

Fuzzy or sketchy would probably suffice in most cases, but do consider my personal favorite, frivolous:

Frivolous:

characterized by lack of seriousness or sense, as in:

His frivolous delivery left many people baffled.

or

Cavalier:

offhand or unceremonious

His cavalier approach to facts seems to appeal to some folks.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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