Generally speaking, in philosophical discussions, it is often required to provide definitions for words that seem obvious otherwise, let me give you an example:
When you say : The King of France is bold . Russell may ask you, what do you mean by The? (I will not talk about the theory of descriptions here).
And Russell's question here would be legitimate, and it is significant to analytical philosophy, in what sense do you claim that the king of France such and such...?! (and this word in Russell's terms means more than it seems to mean)
So, I would assume that an analytical philosopher is NOT committing a fallacy here, since I know that even the slightest of our common uses of language can still present some ambiguities at a deeper analytical level.
So, back to your example:
What do you mean by bite?
I do not know of a particular example of a discussion where 'bite' would pose any definitional issues, but consider this dialogue:
- A: Your dog bites
- B: What do you mean by bites?
- A: I mean bite, you know what I mean.
In this situation, B must provide examples as to what definitional level he is talking about. And may reply:
B: I mean, in what sense my dog bites? in the aggressive sense of biting people to hurt them? or in the sense of playful biting?
As you can see here, there is still an ambiguity in the statement. But there are caveats, these factors can resolve the ambiguities, and add in implied meanings, even if A does not provide further details.
- The tone and state in which A talks (unless they are texting)
- B already knowing his dog is aggressive.
So ambiguities only arise either when B knows his dog is not aggressive (so he suspects that 'bites' means playful biting), and when they are texting (so B cannot see how A feels about it).
On the other hand, B's question "What do you mean by bites?" , is also ambiguous, probably more ambiguous that the word 'bite' itself.
Because, when one says "what do you mean by ...", or "how do you define..." , one asks a question that is as ambiguous as the word he asks the definition for.
And A should ask him what level he is talking about, in what sense he is talking, and what kind of definition he wants? and should ask for some examples, to which B will reply : "Do you mean a, b or c...?"
In case all ambiguities are resolved, but B is still asking questions about defining the word 'bite' , then you may refer to these fallacies:
- Sealioning Asking questions and demands for endless answers.
- It might be a Red Herring , if B drags the discussion towards 'bite' instead of talking about his dog's behavior.
As well as fallacies suggested in the comments above.
As Frank Hubeny's answer pointed out, sealioning is considered a pseudo-fallacy by Bo Bennett, Check this link
But remember, it might not be a fallacy if there are still ambiguities that need to be resolved, so that the parties know exactly what they are talking about.
A sentence is anything that is said, for example : Your dog bites people.
But in philosophical discussions, philosophers (especially analytical philosophers and logicians) deal with propositions.
You dog bites and Your dog bites are one sentence, that may refer to 2 (or more) propositions. Propositions are what you mean by a sentence, not what is articulated or expressed, but also what is implied.
Many sentences can refer to one proposition, like I love Paris, J'aime Paris and 我喜欢巴黎...etc.
And many propositions may be implied by one sentence, I love you is one sentence, that can imply many meanings (propositions) : Romantic love, parental love...etc.