de·​ni·​abil·​i·​ty | \ dē-ˌnī-ə-ˈbi-lə-tē How to pronounce deniability (audio) \

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

The two other women were arrested to provide plausible deniability that the operation was politically motivated, the suit alleges. Alex Johnson, NBC News, "Ohio officers involved in Stormy Daniels strip club arrest face departmental charges," 1 Aug. 2019 And unlike conventional weapons, whose trajectories are easily traced, cyber weapons, which move through fibre-optic cables that crisscross the globe, lend themselves to plausible deniability. Sue Halpern, The New Yorker, "How Cyber Weapons Are Changing the Landscape of Modern Warfare," 18 July 2019 The strategy allows for deniability on the part of labs, who sell the peptides to the clinics at cost. Lindsay Gellman, Longreads, "The Last Resort," 22 Mar. 2018 Prosecutors would likely respond that by speaking broadly to the public instead of privately to Stone, Trump was trying to influence Stone in a manner that gave him plausible deniability. Sean Illing, Vox, "Did Trump commit witness tampering by tweet? I asked 9 legal experts.," 3 Dec. 2018 Notable differences include the use of Cobalt Strike rather than custom malware; however, many espionage actors do use publicly and commercially available frameworks for reasons such as plausible deniability. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Russia’s Cozy Bear comes out of hiding with post-election spear-phishing blitz," 20 Nov. 2018 This kind of hybrid warfare gave Putin just enough plausible deniability about what was clearly happening — Russia seizing territory that belonged to another nation. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Now NATO Says Russian “Hybrid Warfare” Could Start a Real War," 13 July 2018 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

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.

See More

First Known Use of deniability

1973, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about deniability

Statistics for deniability

Last Updated

11 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for deniability

The first known use of deniability was in 1973

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on deniability

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with deniability

Comments on deniability

What made you want to look up deniability? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a period when something is suspended

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!