equivocate

play
verb equiv·o·cate \i-ˈkwi-və-ˌkāt\

Definition of equivocate

equivocated

;

equivocating

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 :  to use equivocal language especially with intent to deceive

  3. 2 :  to avoid committing oneself in what one says

equivocation

play \i-ˌkwi-və-ˈkā-shən\ noun

equivocator

play \i-ˈkwi-və-ˌkā-tər\ noun

Examples of equivocate in a Sentence

  1. The applicant seemed to be equivocating when we asked him about his last job.

  2. When asked about her tax plan, the candidate didn't equivocate.

When Should You Use Equivocal?

With its root equi-, meaning "equal", equivocate suggests speaking on both sides of an issue at the same time. An equivocal answer is one that manages not to take a stand; an unequivocal answer, by contrast, is strong and clear. Politicians are famous for equivocating, but equivocation is also typical of used-car salesmen, nervous witnesses in a courtroom, and guys whose girlfriends ask them how committed they are to a relationship.

1590

First Known Use of equivocate

1590

Synonym Discussion of 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

EQUIVOCATE Defined for English Language Learners

equivocate

play
verb

Definition of equivocate for English Language Learners

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



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