tergiversation

noun
ter·​gi·​ver·​sa·​tion | \ ˌtər-ˌji-vər-ˈsā-shən How to pronounce tergiversation (audio) , -ˌgi-; ˌtər-ji-(ˌ)vər- \

Definition of tergiversation

1 : evasion of straightforward action or clear-cut statement : equivocation
2 : desertion of a cause, position, party, or faith

Synonyms for tergiversation

Synonyms

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Did you know?

The roots of tergiversation are about an unwillingness to pick a course and stay on it. The Latin verb tergiversari means "to show reluctance," and it comes from the combining of tergum, meaning "back," and versare, meaning "to turn." (While versare and its related form, vertere, turn up in the etymologies of many English words, including versatile and invert, tergum is at the root of only a few, among them tergal, an obscure synonym of dorsal.) While the "desertion" meaning of tergiversation is both older and a better reflection of the meanings of its etyma, the word is more frequently used as a synonym of equivocation. The related verb tergiversate is a somewhat rare synonym of equivocate.

Examples of tergiversation in a Sentence

like most politicians, he has the gift for tergiversation

First Known Use of tergiversation

1570, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Learn More About tergiversation

Time Traveler for tergiversation

Time Traveler

The first known use of tergiversation was in 1570

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About tergiversation

Dictionary Entries Near tergiversation

tergiversate

tergiversation

tergiversatory

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for tergiversation

Cite this Entry

“Tergiversation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tergiversation. Accessed 17 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Words for Scrabble

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!