I'm curious if there is actually a term for what I have just deemed "the disparate clarification" -- for example I just saw a tweet that said "Let's party, and by party I mean scramble to figure out how to go to Mexico for cheaper healthcare." I think these types of sentences (not the content here) with such irrelevance are so funny but I don't know what they're called/ if there is a term !

  • It's certainly using a non-sequitur. [ODO: noun a conclusion or statement that does not logically follow from the previous argument or statement.] Commented May 9, 2017 at 21:54
  • The closest thing I'm getting right now is an adjective, irreverent. Maybe the phrase you invented will stick. Commented May 10, 2017 at 5:23
  • @EdwinAshworth - Non-sequiturs don't have to be funny, do they? I think this question is different. Also, there's a double-entendre here, since sometimes people talk, in the U.S., about going to Mexico for vacation. Commented May 10, 2017 at 5:25
  • No they don't, but I'd argue that not all people find such sentences (and certainly not every such sentence) all that funny. Although a lot of humour is based on clever uses of incongruity. Commented May 10, 2017 at 7:22
  • 1
    I don't think this is the same as the duplicate. That question is asking about true non sequiturs—the example is a third party adding an irrelevant statement to a dialogue. This question appears to be specifically asking about the construction X, and by X I mean Y.
    – 1006a
    Commented May 11, 2017 at 19:54

2 Answers 2


Great question, did some digging and found Dissimile:

you're making a comparison between two completely unlike things that don't deserve to be compared in the first place, and trying to justify it by making ridiculous exceptions that make your whole point completely moot.

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    That's not the definition I'm aware of. [Collins]: << dissimile [noun]: a comparison of two dissimilar objects for the purpose of illustration>> eg as different as chalk and cheese Commented May 9, 2017 at 21:52
  • @EdwinAshworth You're right about dictionary definitions. But this is from TV Tropes, and if you go through that linked page, you'll see that this is what OP asked for. I hope to see a real word for this, though.
    – NVZ
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 8:46
  • @NVZ 'What OP asked for' and 'acceptable answers on ELU, with substantive endorsement from creditable authorities' don't always match. Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 11:42
  • @EdwinAshworth True, that.
    – NVZ
    Commented Jun 7, 2017 at 11:43

The term I would use for the phenomenon you ask about is Humpty Dumpty glorification, in honor of this exchange between Humpty Dumpty and Alice in Through the Looking Glass:

"As I was saying, that [calculation] seems to be done right — though I haven't time to look it over thoroughly just now — and that shows that there are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents —'

'Certainly,' said Alice.

'And only one for birthday presents, you know. There's glory for you!'

'I don't know what you mean by "glory",' Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. 'Of course you don't — till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"'

'But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument",' Alice objected.

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'

'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master — that's all.'

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