phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

You are just playing word games

Posted by Bob on December 26, 2001

In Reply to: You are just playing word games posted by P on December 26, 2001

: If someone is said to be 'just playing word games' and they are obviously not playing scrabble or doing a crossword, what are they actually doing or what are they being accused of doing? I am looking for a definition and example.

It's a dismissive phrase saying, in essence, that the other person is misusing language to avoid stating the Truth. You see, there are two large tribes: those who insist on linguistic precision, with lawerly, carefully-defined words that create literal Truth, and the other tribe, who use language as an evolving, metaphoric and imprecise tool that creates poetic Truth. When people of these tribes clash (as has been known to happen in this forum....) one side or the other is likely to accuse the other of trivializing the Clear and Obvious Meaning of what's being said by resorting to Word Games.