“To better serve you, we have added the following charges to your account…”

To better serve who? Oh: To better serve you up to our shareholders as a revenue stream. Gotcha.

There’s a word for that.

It’s the same word as for when people say the street is closed for a street festival, when you can plainly see that the street is – for once – open to people, hundreds and hundreds of people, rather than (as usual) being closed to everyone but that set of people, much smaller in number, who want to drive down it in motor vehicles.

It’s the same word as for when someone talks about freedom and means the freedom for people of ill will to threaten and endanger others, eroding the much greater freedom of the much greater number of people from being threatened and endangered.

OK, OK. There’s more than one word for that kind of thing. There are quite a few words, and some of them are not ones I would say around my mother. But there’s a specific word for when you say something that is technically true from one perspective, but from another perspective – one that applies to more people, including the people you’re talking to – is the exact opposite of the truth.

Of course it’s from Latin. Why make it something obvious like English? The second part of the word is lexis, meaning ‘words’ or ‘vocabulary’. The first part is captio, which means ‘trickery’, ‘fraud’, ‘trap’. If it looks like capture, that’s because it’s related. So: captiolexis. Gotcha.

I suppose you could just call them snarewords. Seems fair enough, and it uses obvious English parts. But I just made up snareword.

On the other hand, I also just made up captiolexis. It’s a new old word too.

Use either one of them. I intend to. We need a word to point out this kind of thing.

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