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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce equivocate (audio)

Dictionary definition of equivocate

To be deliberately ambiguous or evasive in order to deceive or mislead someone.
"Politicians often equivocate when faced with tough questions from the press."

Detailed meaning of equivocate

Equivocation is often associated with being dishonest or untruthful. A person who equivocates may avoid giving a straightforward answer to a question or make statements that have multiple meanings, making it difficult for others to understand their true intentions or beliefs. It can also imply to hedge or dodge a question, to avoid taking a clear stance or position on a matter.

In political contexts, equivocation can refer to a politician avoiding taking a clear stance on an issue in order to avoid alienating any particular group of voters. In legal context, it can refer to a witness avoiding giving a clear testimony or answer to a question during a trial. In general, equivocating is seen as a negative trait, as it implies a lack of honesty or integrity.

Example sentences containing equivocate

1. Don't equivocate; just tell me if you finished the project.
2. Lawyers often equivocate to avoid giving a direct answer.
3. When asked about his past, he would always equivocate to avoid judgment.
4. She tends to equivocate when she's unsure of her stance on an issue.
5. If you equivocate on this decision, we'll never make progress.
6. Please do not equivocate; we need an honest discussion about this situation.

History and etymology of equivocate

The verb 'equivocate' has an etymology that traces its origins to Latin. It comes from the Latin word 'aequivocare,' which is a combination of 'aequi,' meaning 'equal,' and 'vocare,' meaning 'to call' or 'to speak.' In its literal sense, 'aequivocare' referred to the use of words with equal or multiple meanings, leading to ambiguity in communication. Over time, this Latin term evolved into 'equivocate' in English, describing the act of being deliberately ambiguous or evasive in order to deceive or mislead someone. The etymology of 'equivocate' underscores the idea of using language in a way that allows for multiple interpretations, often with the intention of obfuscating the truth or avoiding direct responsibility.

Quiz: Find the meaning of equivocate

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Further usage examples of equivocate

1. When it comes to making a firm decision, he always seems to equivocate.
2. If we continue to equivocate on this matter, we will never reach a consensus.
3. It's frustrating when people equivocate instead of simply saying they don't know.
4. Some people equivocate to avoid facing the unpleasant truths.
5. It's not helpful to equivocate when we're looking for clear solutions.
6. She tends to equivocate when it's time to make serious commitments.
7. If you equivocate now, we may lose this opportunity.
8. It's better to speak your mind than to equivocate and leave others in doubt.
9. When I asked about his intentions, he did nothing but equivocate.
10. Leaders shouldn't equivocate; they need to provide clear direction.
11. I'd appreciate it if you didn't equivocate so much during our meetings.
12. If you continue to equivocate, we'll have to find someone who can give us a straight answer.
13. He tends to equivocate when asked about his true intentions.
14. Politicians sometimes equivocate to avoid taking a clear stance.
15. Don't equivocate; give me a straight answer.
16. She didn't want to equivocate, so she told the truth.
17. It's frustrating when people equivocate instead of being honest.
18. When caught in a lie, some people will equivocate further.
19. The suspect continued to equivocate during the interrogation.
20. The witness tried to equivocate under cross-examination.
21. I can't trust someone who always equivocates.
22. The CEO equivocated on the company's financial status.
23. He refused to equivocate and faced the consequences.
24. Her tendency to equivocate made it hard to have a real conversation.



prevaricate, clarify, be straightforward, elucidate


SAT 5 (Scholastic Assessment Test), Deceit and Pretense, Deception and Trickery

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