9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[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. 2015.
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Examples from the web for equivocate
  • For once don't equivocate.
  • Because he is in the right, he cannot afford to compromise and his leaders cannot afford to equivocate.
  • You may equivocate, you may lie in your business, but you don't lie to the press.
  • He did not know how to equivocate or dissemble.
  • In neither case did the speakers evade these questions, nor did they equivocate.
  • However, this article makes the mistake to equivocate economic growth with happiness, inferring that the former causes the latter.
  • True to the best of what this school stands for, he did not hesitate or equivocate.
  • Collier did equivocate somewhat on cross-examination in a deposition.
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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