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prevaricate

verb

Definition: to avoid telling the truth by being deliberately ambiguous or misleading

Synonyms: equivocate, deceive, distort, evade, fabricate, falsify, mislead, stretch, misrepresent, lie

Antonyms: tell the truth, be honest

Tips: Because the words sound similar, many people confuse prevaricate with procrastinate. Procrastinate means "to put off doing something," while prevaricate means "to deliberately avoid the truth or try to mislead someone." Prevaricate comes from the Latin phrase praevaricari, which means "to walk crookedly." Think, "avoiding being straight in order to confuse and mislead." Prevaricate is synonymous with equivocate. To prevaricate is to avoid telling the truth by being ambiguous and misleading. Equivocate is the act of being unclear and misleading. For example: "The journalist accused the politician of prevaricating when the politician began to equivocate instead of providing a straightforward and honest answer to the question." Prevarication is the act of prevaricating.

Usage Examples:

Even under oath, he continued to prevaricate about what exactly had happened. (lie, deceive, mislead)

I knew that when I confronted her she would prevaricate about who started the rumor. (be ambiguous, be evasive, equivocate)

The governor's attempt to prevaricate about his past mistakes may have cost him re-election. (be misleading, misrepresent the truth)

He accused me of prevaricating even though I was being completely honest and candid. (misleading, equivocating, lying)


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