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[ih-kwiv-uh-keyt] /ɪˈkwɪv əˌkeɪt/
verb (used without object), equivocated, equivocating.
to use ambiguous or unclear expressions, usually to avoid commitment or in order to mislead; prevaricate or hedge:
When asked directly for his position on disarmament, the candidate only equivocated.
Origin of equivocate
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English < Medieval Latin aequivocātus, past participle of aequivocāre; see equivocal, -ate1
Related forms
equivocatingly, adverb
equivocator, noun
nonequivocating, adjective
outequivocate, verb (used with object), outequivocated, outequivocating.
unequivocating, adjective
evade, stall, dodge. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for equivocate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • At least I equivocated, and to equivocate with one so loyal and simple was to deceive him.

    White Lies Charles Reade
  • She could not equivocate, neither could she go into details of a family history.

    Hester's Counterpart Jean K. Baird
  • Why suffer that lip I have kissed a thousand times to equivocate?

  • I could not equivocate with this woman, I could no more lie to her sorrow than to the Judgment.

    The Crossing Winston Churchill
  • How could she equivocate, with her child lying dead in the house.

    The Shadow of Ashlydyat

    Mrs. Henry Wood
  • She looked at him, did not dare to equivocate, and bent her head in acquiescence.

    The Woman Gives

    Owen Johnson
  • But be sure you do not equivocate in the question of this girl.

    Married Life John Baldwin Buckstone
  • They might therefore deem it prudent to equivocate as a matter of safety.

  • So speaking, whether thinkingly or unthinkingly, they equivocate—they lie!

    Red as a Rose is She Rhoda Broughton
British Dictionary definitions for equivocate


(intransitive) to use vague or ambiguous language, esp in order to avoid speaking directly or honestly; hedge
Derived Forms
equivocatingly, adverb
equivocator, noun
equivocatory, adjective
Word Origin
C15: from Medieval Latin aequivocāre, from Late Latin aequivocus ambiguous, equivocal
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
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Word Origin and History for equivocate

early 15c., equivocaten, from Medieval Latin equivocatus, past participle of equivocare "to call by the same name," from Late Latin aequivocus (see equivocation). Related: Equivocated; equivocating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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