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tergiversate

[tur-ji-ver-seyt]
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verb (used without object), ter·gi·ver·sat·ed, ter·gi·ver·sat·ing.
  1. to change repeatedly one's attitude or opinions with respect to a cause, subject, etc.; equivocate.
  2. to turn renegade.
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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
Related formster·gi·ver·sa·tion, nounter·gi·ver·sa·tor, ter·gi·ver·sant [tur-ji-vur-suh nt] /ˌtɜr dʒɪˈvɜr sənt/, nounter·gi·ver·sa·to·ry [tur-ji-vur-suh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ˌtɜr dʒɪˈvɜr səˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for tergiversate

shuffle, renounce, shift, equivocate, defect, apostatize, hedge

British Dictionary definitions for tergiversate

tergiversate

verb (intr)
  1. to change sides or loyalties; apostatize
  2. to be evasive or ambiguous; equivocate
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Derived Formstergiversation, nountergiversator or tergiversant (ˈtɜːdʒɪˌvɜːsənt), nountergiversatory, adjective

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

Word Origin and History for tergiversate

v.

1650s, from Latin tergiversatus, past participle of tergiversari "be evasive," literally "to turn one's back" (see tergiversation). Related: Tergiversated; tergiversating.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper