[ tur-ji-ver-seyt ]
See synonyms for: tergiversatetergiversationtergiversator on Thesaurus.com

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.

Origin of tergiversate

First recorded in 1645–55; from 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 formed from versus, past participle of vertere “to turn”; see -ate1

Other words from tergiversate

  • ter·gi·ver·sa·tion, noun
  • ter·gi·ver·sa·tor, ter·gi·ver·sant [tur-ji-vur-suhnt], /ˌtɜr dʒɪˈvɜr sənt/, noun
  • ter·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. 2024

How to use tergiversate in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for tergiversate


/ (ˈtɜːdʒɪvəˌseɪt) /

  1. to change sides or loyalties; apostatize

  2. to be evasive or ambiguous; equivocate

Origin of tergiversate

C17: from Latin tergiversārī to turn one's back, from tergum back + vertere to turn

Derived forms of tergiversate

  • tergiversation, noun
  • tergiversator or tergiversant (ˈtɜːdʒɪˌvɜːsənt), noun
  • tergiversatory, adjective

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