• WordNet 3.6
    • n equivocation falsification by means of vague or ambiguous language
    • n equivocation intentionally vague or ambiguous
    • n equivocation a statement that is not literally false but that cleverly avoids an unpleasant truth
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Equivocation The use of expressions susceptible of a double signification, with a purpose to mislead. "There being no room for equivocations , there is no need of distinctions."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n equivocation In logic, a fallacy depending upon the double signification of some one word: distinguished from amphibology, which depends upon the doubtful interpretation of a whole sentence.
    • n equivocation Ambiguity of speech; specifically, the use, with a view to mislead, of words or expressions susceptible of a double signification; prevarication.
    • n equivocation Synonyms Prevarication, etc. (see evasion); shuffling, quibbling, quibble, equivoke.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • ns Equivocation act of equivocating or using ambiguous words to mislead
    • ***


  • 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!”


Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. æquus, equal, vox, vocis, the voice, a word.


In literature:

Many have said it would not, while others have spoken equivocally.
"Abraham Lincoln, A History, Volume 2" by John George Nicolay and John Hay
She called a page, who at first equivocated; but the truth was at last owned.
"The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol. 20, Issue 573, October 27, 1832" by Various
Lying or equivocation were deemed equally cowardly.
"Bushido, the Soul of Japan" by Inazo Nitobé
An outspoken discussion ensued, in which Mr. Chase found his position embarrassing, if not equivocal.
"Abraham Lincoln, Vol. II" by John T. Morse
As for equivocations, or oraculous speeches, they cannot hold out long.
"Library Of The World's Best Literature, Ancient And Modern, Vol 3" by Various
He is not at liberty to retain the equivocal suggestiveness of the original.
"Emerson and Other Essays" by John Jay Chapman
Antonyms: vague, tacit, ambiguous, implied, equivocal, indefinite.
"Putnam's Word Book" by Louis A. Flemming
At length the equivocal and exhausting interregnum was over.
"Robert Browning" by G. K. Chesterton
Such an equivocal situation could in the end have only one result.
"The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783" by A. T. Mahan
Botfield (Beriah) on the Treatise of Equivocation, 357.
"Notes & Queries, Index of Volume 1" 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:

On the first, conservative, interpretation, no benefits with respect to locality accrue that are not already available on either an Everettian or a statistical interpretation; and the conclusions regarding information flow are equivocal.
Nonlocality and information flow: The approach of Deutsch and Hayden
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
In brief: the Kalam argument commits the fallacy of equivocation in a way that seems beyond repair; two of the premises adopted by Aquinas seem dubious when the terms ‘cause’ and ‘causality’ are interpreted in the context of contemporary empirical science.
New remarks on the Cosmological Argument
Instead of using equivocation as a measure of secrecy, the distortion that an eavesdropper incurs in producing an estimate of the source sequence is examined.
Source-Channel Secrecy with Causal Disclosure