: to deviate from the truth : equivocate
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 that person 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.
"It amused him to hear the ethical and emotional platitudes of lawyers, to see how readily they would lie, steal, prevaricate, misrepresent in almost any cause and for any purpose." — Theodore Dreiser, The Financier, 1912
"One official reflected to me that leaders are frequently moved to action only when they meet one another in person. Phone calls are simply not the same. It’s too easy to hang up, prevaricate, and turn back to the domestic problems." — Thomas Wright, The Atlantic, 4 Mar. 2020
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