Strategic ambiguity

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Strategic ambiguity is a rhetorical deception which makes an argument more difficult to counter, as the counter-argument must first resolve the ambiguity in order to avoid arguing against something which the original arguer can then deny ever claiming. This can easily result in endless cycles of "did you mean this? no? then how about this?" with the original arguer denying each in turn – while the emotional impact of the claim remains in full force without the original arguer ever taking a clear position.


  • dogwhistle: seemingly harmless words, phrases, or gestures that have come to reference a regressive position through repeated association
  • position dancing: constantly changing the position one is claiming to advocate so as to dodge criticism
  • Schrödinger's joke pretends to be meant in jest in order to deflect any need to refute it
  • semantic chameleon: specific words or phrases which can mean different things, depending on context
  • say little, imply much: leave most of the message in what you don't specifically say