Simple Definition of prevaricate
: to avoid telling the truth by not directly answering a question
Examples of prevaricate in a sentence
Government officials prevaricated about the real costs of the project.
<during the hearings the witness was willing to prevaricate in order to protect his friend>
Did You Know?
Prevaricate and its synonyms "lie" and "equivocate" all refer to playing fast and loose with the truth. "Lie" is the bluntest of the three. When you accuse someone of lying, you are saying he or she was intentionally dishonest, no bones about it. "Prevaricate" is less accusatory and softens the bluntness of "lie," usually implying that someone is evading the truth rather than purposely making false statements. "Equivocate" is similar to "prevaricate," but it generally implies that someone is deliberately using words that have more than one meaning as a way to conceal the truth.
Origin of prevaricate
Latin praevaricatus, past participle of praevaricari to act in collusion, literally, to straddle, from prae- + varicare to straddle, from varus bowlegged
First Known Use: circa 1631
Synonym Discussion of prevaricate
Rhymes with prevaricate
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