For example, someone W (say, historic, like from the 1500's) holds position X because of claim Y (I hate ... because of ...).

What would you call someone A who puts "words in their mouth" (He didn't mean Y, he really meant Z). The issue is that X probably didn't mean Z because Z is an anachronistic/out-of-character for W, while Y actually fits W's weltanschauung. (And, say I'm an expert in this field and A is not at all, so I'm qualified to call him out). What should I say? A is a ...?

  • if this is an actual situation where you are in disagreement with someone in a work setting, why would you 'call out' rather than ask their reason for their assumption of W's meaning? Otherwise you might say 'A is creating a straw man'. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man
    – Spagirl
    Mar 15, 2017 at 10:50
  • Does A actually believe in the position he’s taking? Is A aware of the arguments against his position? Or is A knowingly trying to manipulate his listeners? He might be ignorant, misinformed, a manipulator, a radical, or an instigator.*
    – Jim
    Mar 15, 2017 at 13:40

4 Answers 4


A might be a:

All of which say that A has not stated the facts are they are. These are not words often used, as, today, liar is too commonly used. None of these words state that A is being intentionally dishonest, but, rather, mistaken.
If the idea of dishonesty need be applied:

disingenuous Dictionary.com

might describe A. Disingenuous is not as strong as liar, but is strong enough to offend some people.

A is being disingenuous about W

is essentially what you describe.


The Devil can cite Scripture

The best of sources can be distorted to insert a personal interpretation. Origin: Spoken by Antonio in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice:

Mark you this, Bassanio, The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.



Quote mining is another name for the informal fallacy of quoting out of context. it can also be used in non-debate circumstances:


guy 1: This movie isn't funny

cover of movie: guy 1: "funny"

guy 2: man, the quote mining is unbelievable

Quote mining is easily formed into quote miner



twist someone's words: A is a twister of words!

put words in someone's mouth

English Verb

put words in someone's mouth (third-person singular simple present puts words in someone's mouth, present participle putting words in someone's mouth, simple past and past participle put words in someone's mouth)

(idiomatic) To say or imply that someone has said something which he or she did not precisely or directly say. quotations ▼
(idiomatic) To encourage or induce someone to appear to assert something by asking a leading question or by otherwise manipulating

him or her. quotations ▼


(say or imply that someone has said a thing which he or she did not precisely or directly say): twist someone's words


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