• WordNet 3.6
    • adj equivocal uncertain as a sign or indication "the evidence from bacteriologic analysis was equivocal"
    • adj equivocal open to two or more interpretations; or of uncertain nature or significance; or (often) intended to mislead "an equivocal statement","the polling had a complex and equivocal (or ambiguous) message for potential female candidates","the officer's equivocal behavior increased the victim's uneasiness","popularity is an equivocal crown","an equivocal response to an embarrassing question"
    • adj equivocal open to question "aliens of equivocal loyalty","his conscience reproached him with the equivocal character of the union into which he had forced his son"-Anna Jameson"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Equivocal A word or expression capable of different meanings; an ambiguous term; an equivoque. "In languages of great ductility, equivocals like that just referred to are rarely found."
    • Equivocal Capable of being ascribed to different motives, or of signifying opposite feelings, purposes, or characters; deserving to be suspected; as, his actions are equivocal . "Equivocal repentances."
    • Equivocal Literally, called equally one thing or the other; hence:) Having two significations equally applicable; capable of double interpretation; of doubtful meaning; ambiguous; uncertain; as, equivocal words; an equivocal sentence. "For the beauties of Shakespeare are not of so dim or equivocal a nature as to be visible only to learned eyes."
    • Equivocal Uncertain, as an indication or sign; doubtful. "How equivocal a test."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • equivocal Being of doubtful signification; capable of being understood in different senses; ambiguous; doubtful: as, an equivocal word, term, or sense; an equivocal answer.
    • equivocal Of doubtful quality, origin, or significance; capable of being ascribed to different motives or causes; suspicious; dubious: as, an equivocal character; equivocal relations; an equivocal reputation.
    • equivocal Equivocating.
    • equivocal Synonyms Doubtful, Ambiguous, etc. (see obscure, a.); indeterminate.
    • n equivocal A word or term of doubtful meaning, or capable of different interpretations.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Equivocal e-kwiv′ō-kal capable of meaning two or more things: of doubtful meaning: capable of a double explanation: suspicious: questionable
    • ***


  • Michel Leiris
    Michel Leiris
    “Nothing seems more like a whorehouse to me than a museum. In it you find the same equivocal aspect, the same frozen quality.”
  • William Lloyd Garrison
    William Lloyd Garrison
    “I am in earnest -- I will not equivocate -- I will not excuse --I will not retreat a single inch --and I will be heard!”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. aequivocus,: aequus, equal + vox, vocis, word. See Equal, and Voice, and cf. Equivoque
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. æquus, equal, vox, vocis, the voice, a word.


In literature:

On all sides might be seen fresh streets, narrow, and studded all over with those equivocal lanterns.
"The Works of Guy de Maupassant, Volume IV (of 8)" by Guy de Maupassant
I do not wish to do anything hasty in regard to yourself, but your position is rather equivocal.
"Hearts and Masks" by Harold MacGrath
Sometimes I gave you equivocal answers, didn't I?
"The Guinea Stamp" by Annie S. Swan
He removed the green cardboard lampshade to keep his equivocal visitor under strict observation.
"Masques & Phases" by Robert Ross
In him the office lost an expert in equivocal jests.
"Repertory Of The Comedie Humaine, Complete, A -- Z" by Anatole Cerfberr and Jules François Christophe
No one paid it the equivocal compliment of thinking it a substance or a material force.
"Winds Of Doctrine" by George Santayana
I felt the situation equivocal and untenable, and it had amused me so much an hour ago.
"Red Hair" by Elinor Glyn
Her enthusiasm was so great that it reduced him to something like equivocation.
"Hilda" by Sarah Jeanette Duncan
The courts of Europe, with the exception of England, sent in equivocal adhesions to the courts of Berlin and Vienna.
"History of the Girondists, Volume I" by Alphonse de Lamartine
There was in Hollister's mind no doubt or equivocation about what he must do.
"The Hidden Places" by Bertrand W. Sinclair
The message, continues Mr. Schoolcraft, was very equivocal.
"Great Indian Chief of the West" by Benjamin Drake
Popular opinion, an equivocal test of merit, v. 183.
"The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. XII. (of XII.)" by Edmund Burke
It was possible, perhaps, to escape the confession of the truth by equivocation.
"Arthur Mervyn" by Charles Brockden Brown
A: Abuse of words, logomachy, equivocation; theft could not be committed at Sparta, when everything was common property.
"Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary" by Voltaire
It would at least lead to the development of that equivocal gentleman's expectations.
"The President" by Alfred Henry Lewis
Their fraternal voice has resounded from every quarter around me, and their accents are not equivocal.
"The Life of George Washington, Vol. 5 (of 5)" by John Marshall
For the First Amendment does not speak equivocally.
"The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation"
Effeminating and corrupting as all equivocation comes to be in the long run, there are other evils behind.
"Prose Masterpieces from Modern Essayists" by James Anthony Froude, Edward A. Freeman, William Ewart Gladstone, John Henry Newman and Leslie Stephen
St. Germain, in particular, had behaved in a very equivocal way, since his journey to Slave Lake.
"Narrative of a Journey to the Shores of the Polar Sea, in the years 1819-20-21-22, Volume 2" by John Franklin
You shall answer all my questions, truly, honestly, and without equivocation, or it will be the worse for you.
"Knickerbocker, or New-York Monthly Magazine, March 1844" by Various

In poetry:

ROSAURA. What enigmas, O ye skies!
After many a sigh and tear,
Thus in doubt to leave me here
With equivocal replies!
"Life Is A Dream - Act III" by Denis Florence MacCarthy
O pale equivocal hour, whose suppliant feet
Haunt the mute reaches of the sleeping wind,
Art thou a watcher stealing to entreat
Prayer and sepulture for thy fallen kind?
"Moonrise Over Tyringham" by Edith Wharton
Evening fell, equivocal, dissembling,
The women who hung dreaming on our arms
Spoke in low voices, words that had such charms
That ever since our stunned soul has been trembling.
"The Young Fools (Les Ingénus) " by Paul Verlaine
Happiness is silent, or speaks equivocally for friends,
Grief is explicit and her song never ends,
Happiness is like England, and will not state a case,
Grief, like Guilt, rushes in and talks apace.
"Happiness" by Stevie Smith
MUTE or loquacious, as chance may require,
Shrewdly complacent, quick to equivocate,
Bluff, bully, browbeat, brag, conciliate,
Cant, sympathise, or jest — both quack and liar —
He is the creature of effete desire;
"Melbourne Sonnets: XI The Agent" by E J Rupert Atkinson
Mr. Benjamin Franklin was wont to repeat,
In his budget of proverbs, 'Stolen Kisses are sweet;'
But they have their alloy —
Fate assumed, to annoy
Miss Arundel's peace, and embitter her joy,
The equivocal shape of a fine little Boy.
"Some Account Of A New Play" by Richard Harris Barham

In news:

There is no room for equivocation.
I continue to maintain that Romney's ability to lie, dissemble, distort and equivocate so effortlessly is a far more important story — and is far more telling about his character — than any $10,000 bet.
" Equivocation " at Victory Gardens Theater.
Equivocation gives the Bard a good shagging.
If fundamentalists on either side still remain, then they should be ashamed of this equivocation of "strong fundamentals" with what were the fundamentals for the economic growth we experienced in the age of High Finance.
It begins when a match is struck on a darkened hotel porch, and a soft voice rasps "th' equivocations of the fiend.".
If there is penetration of the peritoneum or if the wound exploration is equivocal for peritoneal violation, DPL is performed to determine if there is intraperitoneal blood.
Rt dealing, like lawyering, is one of the equivocal professions.
The ending of this movement comes with a powerful descending gesture that is often played as a snort of titanic disapproval, but here it was more deliberate and more equivocal.
If someone asked me to name the best Broadway musical, I'd gladly equivocate on any side of a debate embracing "Guys and Dolls," "My Fair Lady," "Carousel," "Porgy and Bess" and - well, you know the rest.
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor says defendants often use equivocal or colloquial language in attempting to invoke their right to silence.
The box-office result was less equivocal.
Sure, it takes us to the dark side, but it does so with such a fat dose of equivocation, the fight between good and evil feels fixed in favor of Hollywood redemption.
As Harvard law professor and Bush Justice Department official Jack Goldsmith has pointed out, Johnson 's speech contains many hedges and equivocations.
Of course if equivocation and prevarication were fast food (from all our local political folks), we should have a golden arch over the entire baseball stadium.

In science:

For this purpose, let us use the minimum equivocation decoding rule.
Error Exponent for Multiple-Access Channels:Lower Bounds
One can easily show that, by using this packing lemma and considering the minimum equivocation decoding rule, we would end up with the random coding bound derived in .
Error Exponent for Multiple-Access Channels:Lower Bounds
Without any equivocations, here is what I mean: Everybody has seen a satellite map on Google Earth like the one of the Uptown campus of Tulane University below.
Stochastic Homology. Reduction Formulas for Computing Stochastic Betti Numbers of Maximal Random Complexes with Discrete Probabilities. Computation and Applications
Further, we evaluate the exponential decreasing rate of leaked information and derive its equivocation rate.
Quantum wiretap channel with non-uniform random number and its exponent and equivocation rate of leaked information
Further, by using (143), our method provides the equivocation rate while stabilizer formalism cannot derive the equivocation rate even in the independent case.
Quantum wiretap channel with non-uniform random number and its exponent and equivocation rate of leaked information
However, the result can be strengthened considerably by taking into account Eve’s equivocation of the public message.
Source-Channel Secrecy with Causal Disclosure
We can strengthen the analysis of Theorem 1 by taking into account the equivocation of the public message.
Source-Channel Secrecy with Causal Disclosure
For blocklength n, the equivocation of the public message vanishes at a certain time k due to the adversary’s ongoing accumulation of past source symbols ˆS k−1 .
Source-Channel Secrecy with Causal Disclosure
This illustrates the importance of Eve’s equivocation of the public message.
Source-Channel Secrecy with Causal Disclosure
What Renner Claimed In His Reply — The meaning of (1) is now equivocal in .
On the Foundations of Quantum Key Distribution - Reply to Renner and Beyond
Subtle and equivocal words in may suggest that the wrong and correct interpretations of d (equivalently δ) are similar.
On the Foundations of Quantum Key Distribution - Reply to Renner and Beyond
Equivocally it can be stated that energy is lost in curved spacetime. A similar effect is all ready known, known as a “gravitational time delay,” i.e. the Shapiro Effect.
The quantum vacuum, fractal geometry, and the quest for a new theory of gravity
Astronomical evidence for the existence of black holes with masses Mbh >∼ 106M⊙ in galaxy spheroids with central stellar velocity dispersions s>∼ 100 km s−1 is increasingly compelling; the evidence for black holes with masses 100 − 106M⊙ in low-dispersion spheroids is still equivocal.
The Final Parsec Problem
There is a certain equivocation which distance is more suitable for a given task in QIT where a general problem of quantum state distinguishability or closeness has to be resolved.
Continuous variable private quantum channel
Raviv, “Probability of error, Equivocation, and the Chernoff bound,” IEEE Trans.
General Classes of Lower Bounds on the Probability of Error in Multiple Hypothesis Testing