deniability

noun
de·​ni·​abil·​i·​ty | \dē-ˌnī-ə-ˈbi-lə-tē \

Definition of deniability 

: the ability to deny something especially on the basis of being officially uninformed

Examples of deniability in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Whether truthful or misleading, a state gains plausible deniability by characterizing its nationals as nonofficial military personnel, using such terms as contractors, mercenaries, privateers or volunteers. Austin Carson, Washington Post, "Russia and the U.S. just defused a potential crisis in Syria — and showed us how to back away from a war," 20 Feb. 2018 As an institution Hooters trades in plausible deniability. Jaya Saxena, GQ, "Is There a Place for Hooters in 2018?," 20 June 2018 But coverage also oversimplified the mechanics of these projects, which offer some degree of corporate deniability. Ingrid Burrington, The Atlantic, "Who Gets to Live in Silicon Valley?," 25 June 2018 His insistence that the original video is being taken out of context is a textbook example of claiming plausible deniability, one where anyone who is frightened, hurt, or offended by his comments is simply missing a joke. Megan Farokhmanesh, The Verge, "Disney remixer Pogo can’t walk back his homophobic comments on YouTube," 1 June 2018 Where trolls wear their snickering misdemeanors on their sleeve, a subtweeter has deniability. Jason Pontin, WIRED, "Donald Trump and the Golden Age of Subtweeting," 4 May 2018 Maybe his advisers cooked something up but kept him out of the loop for plausible deniability. Matt Ford, New Republic, "Mueller Wants to Interview Trump. Hold the Popcorn.," 24 Jan. 2018 These can be actors who are working independently of a government agency or as contractors who are able to maintain arms-length distance (for deniability reasons) from their sponsoring organizations. Fortune, "Cyberwar: How Nations Attack Without Bullets Or Bombs," 12 May 2018 Any big shot with half a brain knows the importance of plausible deniability. T.a. Frank, The Hive, "Why Trump May Yet Escape the Michael Cohen Freak Show," 20 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'deniability.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of deniability

1973, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

20 Oct 2018

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The first known use of deniability was in 1973

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