Welcome to Visual Dictionary, a series of posts about words that are better expressed in pictures.
To equivocate is to use unclear language to deceive or avoid committing to a position. Colloquially, we sometimes say that someone is “flip-flopping.”
Not wanting to lose supporters, the politician equivocated on the issue, tossing out buzzwords related to each side while also claiming more study was needed.
- Ambivalent (uncertain; unable to decide, or wanting to do two contradictory things at once)
- Vacillate and Waffle (waver, be indecisive)
- Dither (act irresolutely)
- Hedge (avoid commitment by leaving provisions for withdrawal or changing one’s mind; protect a bet by also betting on the other side)
- Palter (talk insincerely; bargain or haggle)
- Tergiversate (repeatedly change one’s opinions, equivocate)
Equivocate contains the roots “equi” and “voc” “ think of it as being equally vocal for two or more positions.
Photo of blog author balancing on the equator at Mitad del Mundo, Ecuador. Credit: Eric Walton.