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equivocate
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equivocate


She implied absolute support, but then proceeded to equivocate.
  to speak in a manner that does not clearly express an opinion or decision — typically in an attempt to satisfy people who want different things or to avoid making a commitment
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equivocation equivocate equivocating equivocations equivocated equivocates equivocator
Strongly Associated with:   equivocal
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Samples:
  • She implied absolute support, but then proceeded to equivocate.
  • I will be as harsh as truth, and uncompromising as justice... I am in earnest, I will not equivocate, I will not excuse, I will not retreat a single inch, and I will be heard.
    William Lloyd Garrison (American abolitionist)
  • O, come in, equivocator.
    William Shakespeare  --  Macbeth
  • He thought how ten minutes ago-yes, only ten minutes — there had still been equivocation in his heart as he wondered whether the news from the front would be of victory or defeat.
    George Orwell  --  1984

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  • "Did my brother beat out the dogs?" asked Magua, without adverting in any manner to the former equivocation of the chief.
    James Fenimore Cooper  --  The Last of the Mohicans
  • "I did not come to make judgments," he equivocated.
    Stephenie Meyer  --  Breaking Dawn
  • We must speak by the card, or equivocation will undo us.
    William Shakespeare  --  Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
  • The disguise, equivocation, mystery, so hateful to her to practise, might soon be over.
    Jane Austen  --  Emma
  • It was an equivocation.
    Ernest Hemingway  --  For Whom the Bell Tolls
  • Warwickshire jesuits are tried and we have a porter’s theory of equivocation.
    James Joyce  --  Ulysses

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  • Yahoo as I am, it is well known through all Houyhnhnmland, that, by the instructions and example of my illustrious master, I was able in the compass of two years (although I confess with the utmost difficulty) to remove that infernal habit of lying, shuffling, deceiving, and equivocating, so deeply rooted in the very souls of all my species; especially the Europeans.
    Jonathan Swift  --  Gulliver’s Travels
  • His final statements, however, were concise and without equivocation.
    Robert Ludlum  --  The Bourne Supremacy
  • He was too proud to toady, too keen not to strictly observe the plane he occupied when there were those present who did not appreciate him, but, in situations like the present, where he could shine as a gentleman and be received without equivocation as a friend and equal among men of known ability, he was most delighted.
    Theodore Dreiser  --  Sister Carrie
  • Hutter was too stern and obdurate by nature to shrink from the consequences of any of his acts, and he was also too familiar with the opinions of the savages not to understand that nothing was to be gained by equivocation or an unmanly dread of their anger.
    James Fenimore Cooper  --  The Deerslayer
  • I doubt whether I have not done wrong, even now; and today I will, without reserve or equivocation, disclose my real reasons to Mr Cherryble, and implore him to take immediate measures for removing this young lady to the shelter of some other roof.’
    Charles Dickens  --  Nicholas Nickleby
  • He may want more time for his decision—he may believe there is something to be said for both sides—he may feel that a slight amendment could remove all difficulties—but when that roll is called he cannot hide, he cannot equivocate, he cannot delay—and he senses that his constituency, like the Raven in Poe’s poem, is perched there on his Senate desk, croaking "Nevermore" as he casts the vote that stakes his political future.
    John F. Kennedy  --  Profiles in Courage
  • His equivocations with himself about the death of Raffles had sustained the conception of an Omniscience whom he prayed to, yet he had a terror upon him which would not let him expose them to judgment by a full confession to his wife: the acts which he had washed and diluted with inward argument and motive, and for which it seemed comparatively easy to win invisible pardon—what name would she call them by?
    George Eliot  --  Middlemarch
  • This excellent method of conveying a falsehood with the heart only, without making the tongue guilty of an untruth, by the means of equivocation and imposture, hath quieted the conscience of many a notable deceiver; and yet, when we consider that it is Omniscience on which these endeavour to impose, it may possibly seem capable of affording only a very superficial comfort; and that this artful and refined distinction between communicating a lie, and telling one, is hardly worth the…
    Henry Fielding  --  Tom Jones
  • I will not equivocate - I will not excuse.
    Frederick Douglass  --  The Hypocrisy of American Slavery
  • "Answer without equivocation," continued the Judge sternly.
    James Fenimore Cooper  --  The Pioneers
  • She knows she’s equivocating.
    Neal Stephenson  --  Snow Crash
  • His blackness had been equivocated by powder and there was no suggestion in that casket of what his power had or could have been.
    James Baldwin  --  Notes of a Native Son
  • The feeling was that if he, George Washington, who had so much, was willing to risk "his all," however daunting the odds, then who were they to equivocate.
    David G. McCullough  --  1776
  • Even while he trembled in anticipation of what was about to follow, he never contemplated equivocation.
    James Fenimore Cooper  --  The Pathfinder
  • The result is a quaint equivocation, worth observing carefully because it pictures the state of mind of a man living half in one economy and half in another and wishing to do justice to every interest.
    Richard Hofstadter  --  Abraham Lincoln and the Self-Made Myth
  • He began, that hour, a sordid strategy which his old proud self would have called inconceivable; he began to equivocate, to put off announcement and production till he should have "cleared up a few points," while week on week Hunziker became more threatening.
    Sinclair Lewis  --  Arrowsmith
  • Equivocated.
    Arundhati Roy  --  The God of Small Things
  • "He equivocated and stalled long enough to find a greater magic with which he could defeat me—Pandora’s Box.
    James A. Owen  --  Here, There be Dragons
  • Faith, here’s an equivocator, that could swear in both the scales against either scale, who committed treason enough for God’s sake, yet could not equivocate to heaven: O, come in, equivocator.
    William Shakespeare  --  Macbeth
  • Faith, here’s an equivocator, that could swear in both the scales against either scale, who committed treason enough for God’s sake, yet could not equivocate to heaven: O, come in, equivocator.
    William Shakespeare  --  Macbeth
  • — I pull in resolution; and begin To doubt the equivocation of the fiend That lies like truth.
    William Shakespeare  --  Macbeth
  • After another painful pause, therefore, she brought the matter to an issue by a question too direct to admit of equivocation.
    James Fenimore Cooper  --  The Deerslayer
  • "What do you think of the Pathfinder, Master Muir, for a garrison to so strong a post?" cried Mabel, resorting to an equivocation which the circumstances rendered very excusable.
    James Fenimore Cooper  --  The Pathfinder
  • Lechery, sir, it provokes and unprovokes; it provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance: therefore much drink may be said to be an equivocator with lechery: it makes him, and it mars him; it sets him on, and it takes him off; it persuades him, and disheartens him; makes him stand to, and not stand to: in conclusion, equivocates him in a sleep, and giving him the lie, leaves him.
    William Shakespeare  --  Macbeth
  • Lechery, sir, it provokes and unprovokes; it provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance: therefore much drink may be said to be an equivocator with lechery: it makes him, and it mars him; it sets him on, and it takes him off; it persuades him, and disheartens him; makes him stand to, and not stand to: in conclusion, equivocates him in a sleep, and giving him the lie, leaves him.
    William Shakespeare  --  Macbeth
  • But he had tact enough to discover that equivocation would be useless, at that moment, and he made a merit of necessity by imitating a frankness, which, in the case of Hutter, was the offspring of habits of indifference acting on a disposition that was always ruthless, and reckless of personal consequences.
    James Fenimore Cooper  --  The Deerslayer
  • …Blifil was so well assisted by Western, that he succeeded without difficulty; for as Mr Allworthy had been assured by her father that Sophia had a proper affection for Blifil, and that all which he had suspected concerning Jones was entirely false, Blifil had nothing more to do than to confirm these assertions; which he did with such equivocations, that he preserved a salvo for his conscience; and had the satisfaction of conveying a lie to his uncle, without the guilt of telling one.
    Henry Fielding  --  Tom Jones
  • …towards whom he had habitually assumed the attitude of a reprover—that God had disowned him before men and left him unscreened to the triumphant scorn of those who were glad to have their hatred justified—the sense of utter futility in that equivocation with his conscience in dealing with the life of his accomplice, an equivocation which now turned venomously upon him with the full-grown fang of a discovered lie:—all this rushed through him like the agony of terror which fails to kill,…
    George Eliot  --  Middlemarch
  • …God had disowned him before men and left him unscreened to the triumphant scorn of those who were glad to have their hatred justified—the sense of utter futility in that equivocation with his conscience in dealing with the life of his accomplice, an equivocation which now turned venomously upon him with the full-grown fang of a discovered lie:—all this rushed through him like the agony of terror which fails to kill, and leaves the ears still open to the returning wave of execration.
    George Eliot  --  Middlemarch
  • During the campaign he defended Taylor’s equivocations by saying that, far from having no principles, Taylor stood for the highest of principles—"allowing the people to do as they please with their own business.
    Richard Hofstadter  --  Abraham Lincoln and the Self-Made Myth
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Associated words [difficulty]:   equivocate [8] , equivocal [3]
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Most commonly used in these subjects:   Philosophy, Logic & Reasoning, Religion - Christianity
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