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[pri-var-i-keyt] /prɪˈvær ɪˌkeɪt/
verb (used without object), prevaricated, prevaricating.
to speak falsely or misleadingly; deliberately misstate or create an incorrect impression; lie.
Origin of prevaricate
1575-85; < Latin praevāricātus, past participle of praevāricārī to straddle something, (of an advocate) collude with an opponent's advocate, equivalent to prae- pre- + vāricāre to straddle, derivative of vārus bent outwards, bow-legged
Related forms
prevarication, noun
prevaricative, prevaricatory
[pri-var-i-kuh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /prɪˈvær ɪ kəˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/ (Show IPA),
unprevaricating, adjective
evade, shift. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for prevaricate


(intransitive) to speak or act falsely or evasively with intent to deceive
Derived Forms
prevarication, noun
prevaricator, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin praevāricārī to walk crookedly, from prae beyond + vāricare to straddle the legs; compare Latin vārus bent
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 prevaricate

1580s, "to transgress," a back formation from prevarication, or else from Latin praevaricatus, past participle of praevaricari "to make a sham accusation, deviate," literally "walk crookedly;" in Church Latin, "to transgress" (see prevarication). Meaning "to speak evasively" is from 1630s. Related: Prevaricated; prevaricating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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