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

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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 There’s no reason to doubt or to equivocate with calls to unite. Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, "Target Biden: Gun industry readies its biggest political war ever," 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, "LAPD gets approval to begin recording, storing aerial footage of protests," 27 Oct. 2020 Both López-Gatell and López Obrador equivocate on the effectiveness of wearing face masks. David Agren, USA TODAY, "Coca-Cola or 'bottled poison'? Mexico finds a COVID-19 villain in big soda," 23 Aug. 2020 In a precursor to the player and parent-lead initiatives currently unfolding, Ohio State linemen Wyatt Davis and Josh Myers did not equivocate in a mid-may teleconference. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "Ohio State football’s coronavirus timeline: Five months that led to a canceled season," 19 Aug. 2020 Mayors that once might have equivocated about balancing transportation needs are firmly declaring that streets that prioritize pedestrians and cyclists are not cute amenities, but necessities for a happy populace and a thriving economy. Doug Gordon, The New Republic, "American Cities Are Built for Cars. The Coronavirus Could Change That.," 26 May 2020 Half equivocated about which of the two organizations was more trustworthy. Nadav Ziv, Time, "How to Spot Coronavirus Misinformation," 16 Mar. 2020 The only plausible source for a clarification of proper recourse to impeachment is the chief justice, John Roberts, as the only impartial person in sight and a presiding officer renowned for his desire to equivocate in many circumstances. Conrad Black, National Review, "Please Speak Out, John Roberts," 5 Feb. 2020 Calment had often equivocated in conversations about her family. Lauren Collins, The New Yorker, "Was Jeanne Calment the Oldest Person Who Ever Lived—or a Fraud?," 10 Feb. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of equivocate

1590, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for equivocate

Time Traveler

The first known use of equivocate was in 1590

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Cite this Entry

“Equivocate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/equivocate. Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of equivocate

formal : to use unclear language especially to deceive or mislead someone

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