prevaricate

verb
pre·var·i·cate | \pri-ˈver-ə-ˌkāt, -ˈva-rə-\
prevaricated; prevaricating

Definition of prevaricate 

intransitive verb

: to deviate from the truth : equivocate

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Other Words from prevaricate

prevarication \-ˌver-ə-ˈkā-shən, -ˈva-rə- \ noun
prevaricator \-ˈver-ə-ˌkā-tər, -ˈva-rə- \ noun

Synonyms for prevaricate

Synonyms

fabricate, fib, lie

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Choose the Right Synonym for prevaricate

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

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.

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

Recent Examples on the Web

Anna hemmed and hawed and dissembled and prevaricated and, as the women got increasingly angry, allowed two fat tears to roll down her cheeks. Jessica Pressler, The Cut, "Maybe She Had So Much Money She Just Lost Track of It," 28 May 2018 Meanwhile, Mohamed Nasheed, the former president whose conviction has now been quashed, prevaricated about returning from exile in Sri Lanka. The Economist, "The Maldives’ Supreme Court abruptly orders the release of several opposition politicians," 2 Feb. 2018 But this is the present Congress with the present Republican majorities running things, so Junior walked away to prevaricate another day. Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, "This Erik Prince Transcript Is Unbelievable," 8 Dec. 2017 Saudi Arabia, which accounts for about 20% of BAE’s overall sales, has bought more than 70 Typhoons, but is prevaricating over buying another 40 or so. The Economist, "Throttling backBAE Systems sheds 2,000 jobs in Britain," 12 Oct. 2017 Chinese state media have prevaricated on the prospects of an oil ban. Jonathan Kaiman, latimes.com, "China announces restrictions on oil supply to North Korea," 23 Sep. 2017 To Clinton’s liberal critics, Warren is Clinton’s opposite: steadfast where Clinton is prevaricating, authentic where Clinton is calculating. Michelle Goldberg, Slate Magazine, "Will We Ever Have a Woman as President?," 31 May 2017 Yes, Trump can delay, prevaricate, obfuscate, annoy and even shut down federal science. Jeffrey Sachs, CNN, "US faces disgrace if Trump drops Paris climate pact," 31 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prevaricate.' 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 prevaricate

circa 1625, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for prevaricate

Latin praevaricatus, past participle of praevaricari to act in collusion, literally, to straddle, from prae- + varicare to straddle, from varus bowlegged

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Time Traveler for prevaricate

The first known use of prevaricate was circa 1625

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More Definitions for prevaricate

prevaricate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of prevaricate

: to avoid telling the truth by not directly answering a question

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