non-denial denial

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non-denial denial ‎(plural non-denial denials)

  1. (idiomatic) A statement which appears to deny that something is true, but which, when examined carefully, can be seen to have used diversion, bluster, or ambiguity to avoid making a clear, direct denial.
    • 1997 July 1, Taran Provost, "Gates: I Wasn't Even on the Block," Time:
      In a classic non-denial denial, Microsoft said that such a takeover might endanger its $200 million MSNBC network partnership.
    • 2000 Jan. 13, Julia Hartley-Brewer, "Diary," The Guardian (UK) (retrieved 11 June 2013):
      "If you print that, I'll sue you." A non-denial denial if ever there was one.
    • 2006 Oct. 1, David E. Sanger, "The Basics; Did I Say That? No, Not Really, Maybe, Sort Of," New York Times (retrieved 11 June 2013):
      In Washington, there is no higher art form than the non-denial denial, in which politicians try to rebut a storyline without quite denying the specifics.
    • 2011 Jan. 19, Vit Wagner, "Anonymous Obama novel stirs Washington," Toronto Star (Canada) (retrieved 11 June 2013):
      [H]e has issued a firm non-denial denial. “I didn’t write it,” he told The New York Times. “But if I had written it, I would be saying I didn’t write it.”

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