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What do you call it when you say something ridiculous and untrue on purpose to make a point? In this case it's clear that you don't really mean it, and you don't mean to lie / misdirect.

I want to say fallacious but that's not exactly it.

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    Don't we call that lying?
    – tchrist
    Sep 22 at 21:54
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    @tchrist The question specifically says "you don't mean to lie/misdirect". Lying is done with intent to deceive.
    – Barmar
    Sep 22 at 22:20
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    Can you add an example of what might be said in a context (including the tone of voice)? Sep 23 at 2:22
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    Tongue in cheek or facetious? "If you say something tongue in cheek, you intend it to be understood as a joke, although you might appear to be serious: He said that he was a huge fan of the president, although I suspect it was tongue in cheek." dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/tongue-in-cheek Sep 23 at 2:32
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    Give an example.
    – Daron
    Sep 23 at 16:30

8 Answers 8

21

As you mention 'ridiculous' perhaps facetious will work.

Cambridge has

not serious about a serious subject, in an attempt to be funny or to appear clever

Often people will make a facetious remark not to be silly, but to make a point.

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    That's exactly what I was looking for. Thanks!
    – ventsyv
    Sep 23 at 2:51
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    Off the subject, but one of two words containing all the vowels - in alphabetical order.
    – Tim
    Sep 23 at 10:20
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    @Tim — With facetiously you get the "sometimes y" vowel in there alphabetically too. Sep 23 at 14:19
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    @Tim There's actually a lot more than 2 of them. It's probably the most well-known example though. Sep 23 at 14:51
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    @DarrelHoffman - wow., never realised that . I guess there are two of them in more common use - facetious and abstemious - never even heard of most of the others. Thanks!
    – Tim
    Sep 23 at 14:56
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You are being hyperbolic:

Merriam Webster

of, relating to, or marked by language that exaggerates or overstates the truth : of, relating to, or marked by hyperbole

Or using hyperbole:

M-W

hy·​per·​bo·​le | \ hī-ˈpər-bə-(ˌ)lē  \

Definition of hyperbole : extravagant exaggeration (such as "mile-high ice-cream cones")

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    You know, hyperbole is "true" but ridiculously exaggerated. I don't think that's what the OP means.
    – Fattie
    Sep 24 at 16:32
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When you intentionally say the opposite of what you mean, it’s called verbal irony.

According to A glossary of literary terms by Abrams and Harpham,

Verbal irony is a statement in which the meaning that a speaker employs is sharply different from the meaning that is ostensibly expressed. An ironic statement usually involves the explicit expression of one attitude or evaluation, but with indications in the overall speech-situation that the speaker intends a very different, and often opposite, attitude or evaluation.

In a clear example from literature, in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Mark Antony's speech after the assassination of Caesar appears to praise the assassins, particularly Brutus ("But Brutus says he was ambitious; / And Brutus is an honourable man"), while actually condemning them. "We're left in no doubt as to who's ambitious and who's honourable. The literal truth of what's written clashes with the perceived truth of what's meant to revealing effect, which is irony in a nutshell".

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irony

Verbal irony may or may not be sarcastic, as the cited article notes.

Verbal irony is common in everyday conversation.

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sarcasm

harsh, cutting, or bitter derision, often using irony to point out the deficiencies or failings of someone or something:

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/sarcasm

And the adjective would be sarcastic.

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  • Sarah made a sarcastic remark.
  • Bob was being facetious when he said that the queen was a great paragon of virtue.
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  • These answers were already given.
    – fev
    Sep 23 at 16:00
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    This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post. - From Review
    – livresque
    Sep 23 at 23:45
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    The best answer here.
    – Fattie
    Sep 24 at 16:33
0

reductio ad absurdum

“the form of argument that attempts to establish a claim by showing that the opposite scenario would lead to absurdity or contradiction”

The Wikipedia article that I took this from has several examples.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_absurdum

In this way of speaking, the person making the argument intends to refute the premises. They do this by showing that they lead to a conclusion that neither the speaker nor the listener believe to be true.

Alternatively, the OP may be looking for a form of expression where the truth is exaggerated, as in advertising: “Want to be the smartest person in the room? Want to own the party?”

This is hyperbole, where the Wikipedia is also helpful, and provides some other words which may be helpful in their own way (see paragraph above).

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperbole

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    I would not class the reducto ad absurdum as an untruth. The argument to show A is false does not state that A is true, but that if A is true then so is B, and since we all know B is false, A must be false.
    – Peter
    Sep 23 at 11:31
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    I don't think this is necessarily the best answer, but it's a related concept worth bringing up. The asker did say the purpose was "to make a point". Would sarcastically stating an absurd conclusion that follows from something ridiculous not qualify as both? 2 days ago
-2

"disinform" comes to mind. Twitter is impressively good at disseminating disinformation.

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    OP asks for something that you don't intend to lie or misdirect. I think disinform means exactly that.
    – jimm101
    Sep 23 at 12:40
  • Welcome to ELU. Please back up your answer with corroboration from a dictionary or two. This is necessary for any answer, but particularly when doubt has been expressed via comments or votes.
    – Andrew Leach
    Sep 23 at 15:56
-3

Falsifying or slandering Possibly being a sociopath 🤣

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    I don't think either of the latter are suitable given the description in the question. Sep 23 at 7:18
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    Welcome to ELU. Please back up your answer with corroboration from a dictionary or two. This is necessary for any answer, but particularly when doubt has been expressed via comments or votes.
    – Andrew Leach
    Sep 23 at 15:57

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