What is the term given to a conflicted reply within the same response?

For example, “Maybe I stole the money, but then again, maybe I didn’t.”

  • 2
    Being evasive, equivocating, noncommittal
    – Jim
    Nov 29 '18 at 19:46
  • That's not a conflicting response; it's as Jim said and either way, what did your own dictionaries, thesauruses or search engines leave unclear? Nov 29 '18 at 22:31

Perhaps you are looking for "equivocate". Thesaurus.com definition is "to use ambiguous or unclear expressions, usually to avoid commitment or in order to mislead; prevaricate or hedge"

This term suggests the speaker is trying to avoid any outright lie — compare to "prevaricate", which involves a more deliberate effort to mislead.


to sidestep TFD

Verb 1. sidestep - avoid or try to avoid fulfilling, answering, or performing (duties, questions, or issues);

As in:

“Maybe I stole the money, but then again, maybe I didn’t” sidestepping her answer.


I'd suggest contradiction. From Merriam-Webster:

a proposition, statement, or phrase that asserts or implies both the truth and falsity of something


a statement or phrase whose parts contradict each other

  • Thank you for the suggestions. But there’s an actual term for this sort of response. I saw it somewhere a few weeks ago and for the life of me I can’t seem to recall it.
    – Cae
    Nov 30 '18 at 2:31
  • How are “Maybe I did” and “Maybe I didn’t” contradictory? They each allow for the other.
    – Jim
    Dec 25 '19 at 2:35

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