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equivocate

[ih-kwiv-uh-keyt]
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verb (used without object), e·quiv·o·cat·ed, e·quiv·o·cat·ing.
  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

1375–1425; late Middle English < Medieval Latin aequivocātus, past participle of aequivocāre; see equivocal, -ate1
Related formse·quiv·o·cat·ing·ly, adverbe·quiv·o·ca·tor, nounnon·e·quiv·o·cat·ing, adjectiveout·e·quiv·o·cate, verb (used with object), out·e·quiv·o·cat·ed, out·e·quiv·o·cat·ing.un·e·quiv·o·cat·ing, adjective

Synonyms

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evade, stall, dodge.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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.

  • 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.


British Dictionary definitions for equivocate

equivocate

verb
  1. (intr) to use vague or ambiguous language, esp in order to avoid speaking directly or honestly; hedge
Derived Formsequivocatingly, adverbequivocator, nounequivocatory, 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

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