equivocation

noun

equiv·​o·​ca·​tion i-ˌkwi-və-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce equivocation (audio)
plural equivocations
: deliberate evasiveness in wording : the use of ambiguous or equivocal language
Like any good teacher, he does his best to answer with clarity and minimal equivocation.Eric Bugyis
Let me say now without equivocation or need for reflection: Devils tower is the most amazing sight of my entire trip.Mel White
: an ambiguous or deliberately evasive statement
His answers were filled with evasions and equivocations.
Increasingly, the inaccuracies, the elisions, and the equivocations were viewed as deliberate acts of subversion, efforts to assert some control over the past instead of simply recording it.Benjamin Soskis

Examples of equivocation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But the script’s equivocations about a diagnosis (the side effect of an experimental drug? Todd Gilchrist, Variety, 15 Mar. 2024 The external threat of Putin was met head-on and with little equivocation from Ukraine’s coalition of allies. James P. Moore Jr., Fortune Europe, 22 Feb. 2024 That same executive order revived the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, which had been shut down after its members resigned en masse to protest then-President Trump’s equivocation over the neo-Nazi demonstrations that erupted in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017. Reed Johnson, Los Angeles Times, 26 Jan. 2024 These rhetorical tempests echoed those that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine two years ago, when Francis was accused of equivocation for his initial refusal to name Russia as the aggressor in the war. Paul Elie, The New Yorker, 26 Feb. 2024 The 42 degree high spoke without equivocation of winter. Martin Weil, Washington Post, 18 Feb. 2024 The world was appalled by the equivocation of the academic leaders when asked if advocating genocide against Jews violated their codes of conduct. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 10 Dec. 2023 His softer rhetorical approach nowadays reflects a broader pattern of Trump triangulating on some issues to appeal to more moderate-leaning voters and independents, even if his equivocations are flimsy. Emily Zemler, Rolling Stone, 27 Nov. 2023 The novel’s setting, in a country soon to become a battleground for conflicting ideologies – a war driven in no small part by economics and a lust for oil – provides an excellent canvas for an examination of moral equivocation that has marked much of McDermott’s work. Heller McAlpin, The Christian Science Monitor, 1 Nov. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'equivocation.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1609, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of equivocation was in 1609

Dictionary Entries Near equivocation

Cite this Entry

“Equivocation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/equivocation. Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

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