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Linguistic grumble: refute or deny?

There is an increasing trend for speakers on TV or radio - especially politicians - to say that they refute a statement or a criticism when they should say they deny or reject it. To refute a statement implies that you have decisively shown its falsity. Of course, the speaker would hope to do this but whether he or she has succeeded is for the listener to decide, not the speaker. Claims to have refuted an allegation are often wishful thinking.


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