Refute='contest' in the wild

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Fri May 22 20:07:43 UTC 2009

If "refute" is going to be meaning both "argue against" and
"successfully argue against," that's going to blow like Katrina.

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

On Fri, May 22, 2009 at 2:01 PM, Geoffrey Nathan <geoffnathan at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender: Â  Â  Â  American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster: Â  Â  Â  Geoffrey Nathan <geoffnathan at WAYNE.EDU>
> Subject: Â  Â  Â Refute='contest' in the wild
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Here's a nice example of 'refute' used to mean 'argue against' without any =
> presupposition of success:=20
> Immediately after Obama=E2=80=99s speech, former Vice President Dick Cheney=
> Â delivered a speech refuting Obama=E2=80=99s comments about how to handle t=
> he Guantanamo detainees.=20
> This came from a weekly mailing from Cato, a libertarian think-tank and vir=
> ulent opponent of Cheney and in the context of an article attacking the pro=
> -torture views of some of our former rulers, errr, government officials. It=
> Â occurred in a mailing entitled 'Obama vs. Cheney Smackdown ' dated today.=
> =20
> Geoff=20
> Geoffrey S. Nathan=20
> Faculty Liaison, C&IT=20
> and Associate Professor, Linguistics Program=20
> +1 (313) 577-1259 (C&IT)=20
> +1 (313) 577-8621 (English/Linguistics)=20
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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