non


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a non-denial denial

A statement that seems and/or is intended to act as a direct denial to an allegation, but which, when taken literally or examined closely, does not deny the allegation at all. The phrase is most commonly associated with evasive answers of politicians facing scrutiny or accusations of misconduct. When pressed by journalists over certain large, undisclosed expenditures he had recently made, the senator gave a classic non-denial denial of any wrongdoing, stating ambiguously that any such spending was simply associated with the running of his campaign.
See also: denial

lex dubia non obligat

A Latin phrase that frees one from a contract or other legal obligation that is not morally sound. In English, the phrase means "a dubious law is not binding." As your lawyer, I think we should absolutely take them to court—the terms of this contract are unethical. Lex dubia non obligat!
See also: lex, non

non-starter

1. An issue, topic, or person that makes no progress or shows little evidence of future success. I know you worked really hard on that proposal, but it's a non-starter—the committee refuses to even consider it. You want to be a doctor? Boy, that's a non-starter—you can't even handle the sight of blood! I wouldn't have too much faith in Bobby—he's a nonstarter, and this business will probably just become another in a long line of failures for him.
2. sports One who does not start the game or race. This phrase is often used in horse racing. I watched the race—what happened to our horse? Why was he a non-starter? I may be a non-starter now, but my goal is to supplant the first-string quarterback in time.

non sequitur

A statement that does not logically fit into the current conversation. Good luck getting answers from him—his every response to my questions so far has been a non sequitur. A: "I changed the oil in the car." B: "Well, that's a complete non sequitur, since I asked if you were hungry!"
See also: non, sequitur

sine qua non

A necessary, essential, or required element. The Latin phrases translates literally to "without which not." Some consider a good education to be the sine qua non of a successful career.
See also: non, qua, sine

persona non grata

A person who has been totally disowned or is no longer acceptable or welcome, especially in or to a foreign government. From Latin, literally meaning "an unacceptable person." Following the president's orders, the members of the foreign embassy were declared personae non gratae. Due to his ties to the extremist group, the senator has become a persona non grata among politicians.
See also: non

go non-linear

To become energetic or agitated by something, often an interest that one has. You know Grandpa loves talking about the weather, so don't ask him about it unless you want to hear him go non-linear.
See also: go

nonbinary

Describing a person who does not identify as exclusively male or exclusively female, or describing such a gender identity. Even though I look like a woman, my experience of gender has always been nonbinary.

non-apology apology

A statement that shares qualities with a typical apology but lacks admission of wrongdoing or an indication of remorse. Often used in public relations. I don't think he's sorry at all. I mean, come on—"I'm sorry you feel that way" is a classic non-apology apology.
See also: apology

non compos (mentis)

Not sane or mentally competent. The phrase is Latin for "not of sound mind." Based on the orders he's been giving lately, many believe him to be non compos. The judge ruled that she had been non compos mentis at the time, and thus could not be held legally liable.
See also: compo, non

non compos poopoo

slang Extremely drunk. A faux Latinism probably modeled on the real Latin phrase "non compos mentis," meaning not sane or mentally competent. There's no way I'm letting you drive home when you're this non compos poopoo.
See also: compo, non, poopoo

sine qua non

An essential element or condition, as in A perfect cake is the since qua non of a birthday party. This phrase is Latin for "without which not" and has been used in English since about 1600. It appears more in writing than in speech.
See also: non, qua, sine

go non-linear

become very excited or angry, especially about a particular obsession. informal
This expression may have originated as a humorous play on the phrase go off the rails (see rail).
See also: go

perˌsona non ˈgrata

(from Latin) a person who is not welcome in a particular place because of something they have said or done: Persona non grata in Hollywood, Jake moved to New York to try and make a living on the stage.
The meaning of non grata is ‘not pleasing’.
See also: non

a ˌnon ˈsequitur

(from Latin, formal) a statement that does not seem to follow what has just been said in any natural or logical way: In the middle of a discussion about the weather, Liz started talking about fish. Everyone ignored the non sequitur completely.
The Latin phrase means ‘it does not follow’.
See also: non, sequitur

a sine qua ˈnon (of/for something)

/%sIneI kwA: "n@Un; American English "noUn/ (from Latin, formal) something that is essential before you can achieve something else: Many people believe that grammar is the sine qua non of language learning.
In Latin, this means ‘without which not’.
See also: non, qua, sine

non compos

(ˈnɑn ˈkɑmpos)
1. mod. out of one’s mind; non compos mentis. She is strictly non compos!
2. and non compos poopoo mod. alcohol intoxicated. That gal isn’t just drunk. She’s non compos poopoo.
See also: compo, non

non compos poopoo

verb
See also: compo, non, poopoo

non compos

Crazy; mentally incapacitated and therefore unable to be responsible for one’s speech or actions. This term is an abbreviation of the Latin non compos mentis, literally translated as “not master of one’s mind,” or “not of sound mind.” It dates from the seventeenth century and today is loosely used for irrational behavior, as well as surviving in legal terminology.
See also: compo, non

persona non grata

An undesirable individual; a person out of favor. The term persona grata is Latin for “an acceptable person” and was used to describe diplomats acceptable to the government to which they were accredited. When such a person was, for some reason, no longer acceptable, he or she became persona non grata and would have to be recalled. From the late nineteenth century on, however, the term was also used more loosely for someone who had gotten in trouble or simply was disliked. The OED cites a 1958 issue of the Oxford Mail: “The BMC management should have known that the introduction of two or three people who are persona non grata with the other 350 men in the shop would create difficulty.”
See also: non

sine qua non

Essential part. As translated from the Latin, “Without which, there would be nothing,” the phrase is an erudite way to describe that which is indispensable or basic.
See also: non, qua, sine
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