I am looking for a general word that describes any situation where you have two people and one person is projecting onto the other their own story, when that story is wrong.


Say Bob is a single guy, and he has a conversation with Sally at the water cooler during work. Joe their coworker sees the conversation, and thinks that Bob is deeply in love with Sally. Bob in this situation, really is not, and the two are being friendly with each other. Joe confronts Bob later, and Bob says he is not interested, but Joe does not believe him, Joe continues to not believe Bob and projects that story onto Bobs life.

Another example could be when you are telling the truth about something to your friends, and no one believes you, because they have made up their mind based on some piece of evidence that is taken out of context.

closed as off-topic by tchrist Aug 24 '18 at 1:17

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  • I hesitate to answer, as the word I would suggest is already in your answer multiple times: "projecting." – Lumberjack Aug 22 '18 at 2:02
  • 1
    I don't think projecting is the right word here. Projecting implies that the person putting the story out is taking their situation and forcing it onto someone else. In the example above that would mean Joe himself likes Sally. I didn't mean to imply that case here. Projection was just the best word I could think of to describe the situation. – user313324 Aug 22 '18 at 2:10

misapply vocabulary.com

apply to a wrong thing or person; apply badly or incorrectly

As in:

You tell the truth about something to your friends, and no one believes your statement because they misapply what they have seen.

Misconstrue would work too.

  • +1 for misconstrue – Ubi hatt Aug 22 '18 at 4:32


I think the word you are looking for is paralogism, or what I normally refer to as bad reasoning or bad logic.

Merriam Webster defines paralogism as:

paralogism - noun - a fallacious argument

Oxford defines paralogism as:

paralogism - noun - A piece of illogical or fallacious reasoning, especially one which appears superficially logical or which the reasoner believes to be logical

Origin Mid 16th century: from French paralogisme, via late Latin from Greek paralogismos, from paralogizesthai ‘reason falsely’.


Building on the other answer's use of paralogism, the specific fallacy that's being committed here is most likely begging the question.

(Not to be confused with its recent misappropriation that actually means "which leads to an obvious question.")

From your logical fallacy is:

begging the question

You presented a circular argument in which the conclusion was included in the premise.

This logically incoherent argument often arises in situations where people have an assumption that is very ingrained, and therefore taken in their minds as a given. Circular reasoning is bad mostly because it's not very good.

Example: The word of Zorbo the Great is flawless and perfect. We know this because it says so in The Great and Infallible Book of Zorbo's Best and Most Truest Things that are Definitely True and Should Not Ever Be Questioned.

In other words, Joe says it's obvious that Bob is in love with Sally; therefore, he must be in love with Sally.

  • I think begging the question would also work here. It's like Joe made up his mind and doesn't really care what Bob has to say. – user313324 Aug 22 '18 at 3:51