equiv·​o·​cate | \ i-ˈkwi-və-ˌkāt How to pronounce equivocate (audio) \
equivocated; equivocating

Definition of equivocate

intransitive verb

1 : to use equivocal language especially with intent to deceive
2 : to avoid committing oneself in what one says

Other Words from equivocate

equivocator \ i-​ˈkwi-​və-​ˌkā-​tər How to pronounce equivocate (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for equivocate

lie, prevaricate, equivocate, palter, fib mean to tell an untruth. lie is the blunt term, imputing dishonesty. lied about where he had been prevaricate softens the bluntness of lie by implying quibbling or confusing the issue. during the hearings the witness did his best to prevaricate equivocate implies using words having more than one sense so as to seem to say one thing but intend another. equivocated endlessly in an attempt to mislead her inquisitors palter implies making unreliable statements of fact or intention or insincere promises. a swindler paltering with his investors fib applies to a telling of a trivial untruth. fibbed about the price of the new suit

Examples of equivocate in a Sentence

The applicant seemed to be equivocating when we asked him about his last job. When asked about her tax plan, the candidate didn't equivocate.
Recent Examples on the Web In a 5,000-word article published in July 2021, Putin does not equivocate in articulating his worldview of historical grievance which includes Ukraine as an integral part of the Russian Nation. Chris Massaro, Fox News, 9 Dec. 2021 In a battle between freedom and authoritarianism, Europe can’t equivocate. Anders Fogh Rasmussen, WSJ, 10 Oct. 2021 At its most political, Kuriki-Olivo’s work is also at its most literal, and tends not to equivocate. New York Times, 18 Aug. 2021 Don’t apologize or equivocate about your job search. Gerry Valentine, Forbes, 26 May 2021 As the fall approaches, first-year students who have already paid their admission deposits have been left in the dark as schools equivocate. NBC News, 20 May 2021 And some of them, such as members of KISS, Deep Purple and Bon Jovi, wind up having to eat or at least equivocate on their words. Gary Graff, Billboard, 12 May 2021 There’s no reason to doubt or to equivocate with calls to unite. Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, 19 Nov. 2020 However, when asked about those concerns Tuesday, Deputy Chief Peter Zarcone, who heads the LAPD’s counterterrorism and special operations bureau, did not equivocate. Kevin Rector, Los Angeles Times, 27 Oct. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'equivocate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of equivocate

1590, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Learn More About equivocate

Time Traveler for equivocate

Time Traveler

The first known use of equivocate was in 1590

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near equivocate

equivocal generation



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for equivocate

Cite this Entry

“Equivocate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/equivocate. Accessed 25 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on equivocate

Nglish: Translation of equivocate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of equivocate for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Great Words for Scrabble

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!