Trend Watch

'Chaos and Tergiversations'

Lookups for 'tergiversation' spiked after the word appeared on a political blog


Lookups for tergiversation (“evasion of straightforward action or clear-cut statement”) spiked after the word appeared in an editorial published on a political blog.

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'Tergiversation' can mean "evasion of straightforward action or clear-cut statement" or "desertion of a cause, position, party, or faith."

We're not three weeks into the Trump presidency. It remains difficult to piece together the trends above the chaos and tergiversations of each successive day.
Talking Points Memo, 9 Feb. 2017

Tergiversation also may be used (albeit rarely) in the sense of “desertion of a cause, position, party, or faith.” The word comes the Latin word tergiversari (“to show reluctance”), and has been in use since the middle of the 16th century.

Therefore thys tergiuersation of the Anabaptistes is a blasphemye, which dishonoreth the Lord Iesus, as thoughe he had told vs a vayne tale to no purpose.
—Jean Calvin, A Short Instruction For to Arme All Good Christian People Agaynst the Pestiferous Errours of the Common Secte of Anabaptistes, 1549



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