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equivocate

[ih-kwiv-uh-keyt] /ɪˈkwɪv əˌkeɪt/
verb (used without object), equivocated, equivocating.
1.
to use ambiguous or unclear expressions, usually to avoid commitment or in order to mislead; prevaricate or hedge:
When asked directly for his position on disarmament, the candidate only equivocated.
Origin of equivocate
late Middle English
1375-1425
1375-1425; late Middle English < Medieval Latin aequivocātus, past participle of aequivocāre; see equivocal, -ate1
Related forms
equivocatingly, adverb
equivocator, noun
nonequivocating, adjective
outequivocate, verb (used with object), outequivocated, outequivocating.
unequivocating, adjective
Synonyms
evade, stall, dodge.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for equivocate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • At least I equivocated, and to equivocate with one so loyal and simple was to deceive him.

    White Lies Charles Reade
  • She could not equivocate, neither could she go into details of a family history.

    Hester's Counterpart Jean K. Baird
  • Why suffer that lip I have kissed a thousand times to equivocate?

  • I could not equivocate with this woman, I could no more lie to her sorrow than to the Judgment.

    The Crossing Winston Churchill
  • How could she equivocate, with her child lying dead in the house.

    The Shadow of Ashlydyat

    Mrs. Henry Wood
  • She looked at him, did not dare to equivocate, and bent her head in acquiescence.

    The Woman Gives

    Owen Johnson
  • But be sure you do not equivocate in the question of this girl.

    Married Life John Baldwin Buckstone
  • They might therefore deem it prudent to equivocate as a matter of safety.

  • So speaking, whether thinkingly or unthinkingly, they equivocate—they lie!

    Red as a Rose is She Rhoda Broughton
British Dictionary definitions for equivocate

equivocate

/ɪˈkwɪvəˌkeɪt/
verb
1.
(intransitive) to use vague or ambiguous language, esp in order to avoid speaking directly or honestly; hedge
Derived Forms
equivocatingly, adverb
equivocator, noun
equivocatory, adjective
Word Origin
C15: from Medieval Latin aequivocāre, from Late Latin aequivocus ambiguous, equivocal
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for equivocate
v.

early 15c., equivocaten, from Medieval Latin equivocatus, past participle of equivocare "to call by the same name," from Late Latin aequivocus (see equivocation). Related: Equivocated; equivocating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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