Did your friend tell you they’re in trouble for something at school? You could tell them to “admit nothing, deny everything” when questioned about their transgression. This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.
The expression “admit nothing, deny everything” is the shorter form of “admit nothing, deny everything, and make counter-accusations.”
This saying means you don’t take accountability or responsibility for anything that people accuse you of in life. You would adopt a position of ignorance, even if you were the responsible party to the situation in question.
It’s common for politicians and leaders to adopt this strategy to avoid taking responsibility for their actions as it may hurt them in the polls or during an election.
“Did you see the president avoid taking accountability in his speech on TV? These politicians are unbelievable. It’s admit nothing, deny everything, and pull the wool over the eyes of the American people.”
“I can’t stand it when people take the position to admit nothing, deny everything, and make counter-accusations. It’s despicable when people can’t take accountability for their actions.”
“Why do people have to admit nothing, deny everything, and make counter-accusations when people press them about their mistakes. Why can’t people just admit they were wrong and move on?”
“Son, it’s important you take responsibility in life and remain accountable for your actions. Don’t be the guy to admit nothing, deny everything, and try and get away with your mistakes.”
“Politicians are horrible role models for our children. They admit nothing, deny everything, and make counter accusations whenever they’re challenged by the opposition or the people.”
“It’s always the same thing with you. You never admit you’re wrong. You admit nothing, deny everything, and hope you get away with it.”
“This guy is unbelievable. His attitude is to admit nothing, deny everything, and make counter-accusations wherever possible. Why can’t he take responsibility for his actions?”
“There’s no way they’re ever going to convict that guy. He has the strategy to admit nothing, deny everything, and make counter-accusations. How can you accuse a guy like that?”
“The principle tried to frame me for starting the fire in the lobby. I took to position to admit nothing and deny everything. They’re not pinning that on me, no way.”
The expression “admit nothing, deny everything” comes from the longer form of the saying, “admit nothing, deny everything, and make counter-accusations.”
There is limited information on the origin of the expression. However, according to the New York Times, the saying was a slogan used in merch designs at the CIA gift shop in Langley, Virginia in the late 1980s.
The phrase became popular in 2016 during the Roger Stone file presented in the Mueller investigation into Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia. The media would use it to describe Stone’s attitude.
Phrases Similar to Admit Nothing Deny Everything
- Deny accountability.
- Avoid punishment.
- Ask for proof.
Phrases Opposite to Admit Nothing Deny Everything
- Take responsibility.
- Own up to your mistakes.
What is the Correct Saying?
- Admit nothing, deny everything.
- Admit nothing, deny everything, and make counter accusations.
Ways People May Say Admit Nothing Deny Everything Incorrectly
The phrase “admit nothing, deny everything” is the shorter version of “admit nothing, deny everything, and make counter-accusations.” It’s more common for people to use the abbreviated version than the full saying.
Acceptable Ways to Phrase Admit Nothing Deny Everything
You can use the phrase “admit nothing, deny everything” as advice to other people, or comment on other people’s behavior. For instance, you could use it as a response to watching the president deny something on TV that they’re obviously accountable for to the people.
Or you could use it at work to comment on a coworker’s attitude to taking responsibility. The phrase suits social and professional situations in text-based conversations and verbal exchanges. The term has serious or comical use, depending on the problem’s merits.