[ tur-ji-ver-seyt ]
/ ˈtɜr dʒɪ vərˌseɪt /
verb (used without object), ter·gi·ver·sat·ed, ter·gi·ver·sat·ing.
to change repeatedly one's attitude or opinions with respect to a cause, subject, etc.; equivocate.
to turn renegade.
Why Tergiversate Is Our 2011 Word Of The YearThere are essentially two ways to pick a “word of the year.” One common approach is to select from words whose common usage reflects some quality of the year past. Expect to see occupy, winning, etc., on many selections this December. Another way involves actually using the dictionary. Is there a word that captures the character of 2011, regardless of its popularity or ubiquity? In …
tergiversateFind new words to share every day with Dictionary.com's Word of the Day. Discover the definition, pronunciation, and origin of uncommon words plus more!
Origin of tergiversate
1645–55; < Latin tergiversātus (past participle of tergiversārī to turn one's back), equivalent to tergi- (combining form of tergum back) + versātus, past participle of versāre, frequentative of vertere to turn; see -ate1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
/ (ˈtɜːdʒɪvəˌseɪt) /
to change sides or loyalties; apostatize
to be evasive or ambiguous; equivocate
Word Origin for tergiversate
C17: from Latin tergiversārī to turn one's back, from tergum back + vertere to turn
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
1650s, from Latin tergiversatus, past participle of tergiversari "be evasive," literally "to turn one's back" (see tergiversation). Related: Tergiversated; tergiversating.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper