prevaricate

Synonym Chooser

How does the verb prevaricate differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of prevaricate are equivocate, fib, lie, and palter. While all these words mean "to tell an untruth," prevaricate softens the bluntness of lie by implying quibbling or confusing the issue.

during the hearings the witness did his best to prevaricate

When is equivocate a more appropriate choice than prevaricate?

Although the words equivocate and prevaricate have much in common, 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

In what contexts can fib take the place of prevaricate?

The synonyms fib and prevaricate are sometimes interchangeable, but fib applies to a telling of a trivial untruth.

fibbed about the price of the new suit

When would lie be a good substitute for prevaricate?

The words lie and prevaricate can be used in similar contexts, but lie is the blunt term, imputing dishonesty.

lied about where he had been

When is it sensible to use palter instead of prevaricate?

While the synonyms palter and prevaricate are close in meaning, palter implies making unreliable statements of fact or intention or insincere promises.

a swindler paltering with his investors

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Cite this Entry

“Prevaricate.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/prevaricate. Accessed 5 Feb. 2023.

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