tergiversation

noun ter·gi·ver·sa·tion \ ˌtər-ˌji-vər-ˈsā-shən , -ˌgi- ; ˌtər-ji-(ˌ)vər- \
1 : evasion of straightforward action or clear-cut statement : equivocation
2 : desertion of a cause, position, party, or faith

tergiversation was our Word of the Day on 09/22/2013. Hear the podcast!

Examples of tergiversation in a Sentence

  1. like most politicians, he has the gift for tergiversation

Did You Know?

The Latin verb tergiversari means "to show reluctance," and it comes from the combination of tergum, meaning "back," and versare, meaning "to turn." Tergiversari gave English the noun tergiversation and the verb tergiversate ("to engage in tergiversation"). Tergiversation is the slightly older term, having been around since at least 1570; the first known use of tergiversate dates from 1590. There's also the much rarer adjective tergiversant ("tending to evade"), as well as the noun tergiversator ("one that tergiversates").

First Known Use of tergiversation

1570

in the meaning defined at sense 1

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