The word "refute" is in dispute:
In a recent post that touched on my memory of 9/11, I remarked on a brief moment of agreement I had seemed to have with Noam Chomsky:
I found myself nodding at Noam Chomsky's remark about chickens coming home to roost because I assumed that the United States had funded Bin Laden in the Afghan uprising against the Soviet Union, though I soon discovered that Bin Laden strongly refuted this, claiming never to have received any American money.My cyber-friend Bill Vallicella commented on my use of the word "refute":
To deny a claim is not the same as to refute it. 'Refute' is a verb of success. But perhaps you disagree.I responded:
The word "refute" is in dispute:The proper use of "refute" . . . is in dispute, within the dictionary itself.
1. To prove to be false or erroneous; overthrow by argument or proof: refute testimony.I prefer your use of the word (#1), but I used it that way once as an undergrad, and I was was shown a dictionary definition that corresponded to #2.
2. To deny the accuracy or truth of: refuted the results of the poll.
I should have chosen a different term, but I guess I'll leave the post unaltered - or maybe devote a post to the proper use of "refute" . . .