tergiversate

Definitions

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

  • intransitive verb To use evasions or ambiguities; equivocate.
  • intransitive verb To change sides; apostatize.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To shift; practise evasion; make use of shifts or subterfuges.

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

  • intransitive verb rare To shift; to practice evasion; to use subterfuges; to shuffle.

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

  • verb intransitive To evade, to equivocate using subterfuge; to deliberately obfuscate.
  • verb intransitive To change sides or affiliation; to apostatize.

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

  • verb abandon one's beliefs or allegiances
  • verb be deliberately ambiguous or unclear in order to mislead or withhold information

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin tergiversārī, tergiversāt- : tergum, the back + versāre, to turn; see wer- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin tergiversor ("turn one's back, make excuses"); from tergum ("the back") + versō, frequentive of vertō ("turn").

Examples

  • At Dictionary.com they went for "tergiversate" - perhaps to force people to use dictionary.com to look up what the hell the word even means.

    NEWS.com.au | Top Stories

  • Not really do we preserve the unexcelled prices but our turnaround tergiversate payment your Xrumer posting is wonderful fast.

    Your Right Hand Thief

  • But unfortunately the expulsion of James II, which he called his "abdication," compelled him to use all reserve, to shuffle and to tergiversate, in order to avoid making William out a usurper.

    The Social Contract

  • To tergiversate is to: a. restore a piece of land from a state of despoilment.

    Blogposts | guardian.co.uk

  • To tergiversate is to: a. restore a piece of land from a state of despoilment.

    Blogposts | guardian.co.uk

  • The testimony which stirred up the bile of the holy fathers could not but be given, unless you had been willing basely to tergiversate and to expose yourself to their taunts. "

    The Rise of the Hugenots, Vol. 1 (of 2)

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