Definition of tergiversate in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈtəːdʒɪvəˌseɪt/
Pronunciation: /təːdʒɪˈvəːseɪt/


[no object]
1Make conflicting or evasive statements; equivocate: the more she tergiversated, the greater grew the ardency of the reporters for an interview
More example sentences
  • The thought of tergiversating crossed his mind several times but like a true soldier he continued with the War, against the enemy and against himself.
2Change one’s loyalties; abandon a belief or principle.



Pronunciation: /təːdʒɪvəːˈseɪʃ(ə)n/
Example sentences
  • A small, red-headed, squinting man, Clarendon described him as of ‘extraordinary cunning’, though in the end his contorted tergiversations overwhelmed him.
  • You may call it tergiversation, but we pros call it diplomacy.
  • The Treasury displayed the utmost determination, ingenuity, tergiversation and meanness of spirit in trying to cut his fees.


Pronunciation: /ˈtəːdʒɪvəːseɪtə/
Example sentences
  • And partly because, speaking as a natural tergiversator until the last moment, human development can be very quick in a high-conflict or high-pressure situation, much quicker than normal.
  • But then he made another statement that is worth reviewing in full, because it reflects a matter that has largely been elided by some tergiversators who have chosen to spin this whole matter.


Mid 17th century: from Latin tergiversat- 'with one's back turned', from the verb tergiversari, from tergum 'back' + vertere 'to turn'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ter|gi¦ver|sate

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