equivocation

Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The use of equivocal language.
  • noun An equivocal statement or expression.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun 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.
  • noun Ambiguity of speech; specifically, the use, with a view to mislead, of words or expressions susceptible of a double signification; prevarication.
  • noun Synonyms Prevarication, etc. (see evasion); shuffling, quibbling, quibble, equivoke.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The use of expressions susceptible of a double signification, with a purpose to mislead.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun logic A logical fallacy resulting from the use of multiple meanings of a single expression.
  • noun The use of expressions susceptible of a double signification, possibly intentionally and with the aim of misleading.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun intentionally vague or ambiguous
  • noun a statement that is not literally false but that cleverly avoids an unpleasant truth
  • noun falsification by means of vague or ambiguous language

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

c. 1380, from Old French equivocation, from Medieval Latin aequivocātiōnem, accusative singular of aequivocātiō, from aequivocō, from Late Latin aequivocus ("ambiguous, equivocal"), from Latin aequus ("equal") + vocō ("call"); a calque of Ancient Greek ὁμωνυμία (homōnumia).

Examples

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