9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[pri-var-i-keyt] /prɪˈvær ɪˌkeɪt/
verb (used without object), prevaricated, prevaricating.
to speak falsely or misleadingly; deliberately misstate or create an incorrect impression; lie.
Origin of prevaricate
1575-85; < Latin praevāricātus, past participle of praevāricārī to straddle something, (of an advocate) collude with an opponent's advocate, equivalent to prae- pre- + vāricāre to straddle, derivative of vārus bent outwards, bow-legged
Related forms
prevarication, noun
prevaricative, prevaricatory
[pri-var-i-kuh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /prɪˈvær ɪ kəˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/ (Show IPA),
unprevaricating, adjective
evade, shift. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for prevaricate
  • He must now decide whether to use the split as a chance to start afresh, or merely as another reason to prevaricate.
  • You prevaricate but do not answer.
  • On a more enlightened planet we wouldn't need to prevaricate.
  • Truth be told, I prevaricate on such matters.
  • Other acquaintances say he has a tendency to embellish, even prevaricate.
  • If any officers disobey or prevaricate, they should be brought to book.
  • There goes that old compulsion to prevaricate when it's not necessary.
  • But fair enough – my implication was clear, and I try not to prevaricate.
  • Leaders lead, they don't prevaricate.
  • The appellant did in fact prevaricate and admitted it.
British Dictionary definitions for prevaricate


(intransitive) to speak or act falsely or evasively with intent to deceive
Derived Forms
prevarication, noun
prevaricator, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin praevāricārī to walk crookedly, from prae beyond + vāricare to straddle the legs; compare Latin vārus bent
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 prevaricate

1580s, "to transgress," a back formation from prevarication, or else from Latin praevaricatus, past participle of praevaricari "to make a sham accusation, deviate," literally "walk crookedly;" in Church Latin, "to transgress" (see prevarication). Meaning "to speak evasively" is from 1630s. Related: Prevaricated; prevaricating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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