"Refute" is not "rebut" or "deny," Lance Armstrong edition

Oh, Lance Armstrong wishes he refuted the report by George Hincapie about his illegal substance use. Because by refuting, Armstrong would “1. Prove (a statement or theory) to be wrong or false; disprove.”

Rather, Armstrong and his people rebutted, at best. “Rebut” being, among other things, “to contradict or oppose by formal legal argument, plea, or countervailing proof.” More likely, all Armstrong and his posse did was deny, angrily, the accusations.

In this case, there’s not tremendous harm: People get the context, most likely. But there can be legal issues if you use it incorrectly under the wrong circumstances, just as saying “guilty” instead of “innocent” or “sentenced to prison” rather than “sentenced to jail” can have consequences.

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