[ 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.

Nearby words

  1. tereus,
  2. terf,
  3. terfel,
  4. tergal,
  5. tergite,
  6. tergiversation,
  7. tergum,
  8. terhune,
  9. teriyaki,
  10. term

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. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for tergiversator


/ (ˈtɜːdʒɪvəˌseɪt) /

verb (intr)

to change sides or loyalties; apostatize
to be evasive or ambiguous; equivocate
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 tergiversator



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