Share this entry

prevaricate Syllabification: pre·var·i·cate
Pronunciation: /prəˈverəˌkāt/

Definition of prevaricate in English:


[no object]
Speak or act in an evasive way: he seemed to prevaricate when journalists asked pointed questions
More example sentences
  • Not dissembling, not equivocating, not prevaricating, not misinforming, not distorting.
  • As for the moral arguments, let's insist on a full and complete discussion of those too - without the usual shilly-shallying and prevaricating.
  • That is they kept quibbling and prevaricating and showing stubbornness.
be evasive, beat around the bush, hedge, fence, shilly-shally, dodge (the issue), sidestep (the issue), equivocate, waffle;
temporize, stall (for time);
hem and haw


Mid 16th century (in the sense 'go astray, transgress'): from Latin praevaricat- 'walked crookedly, deviated', from the verb praevaricari, from prae 'before' + varicari 'straddle' (from varus 'bent, knock-kneed').



Pronunciation: /prəˌverəˈkāSH(ə)n/
Example sentences
  • Even so, he has continued his policy of deception and prevarication.
  • Now we are fed big pills of outright lies, prevarication, and deception.
  • I met people who had endured 12 hours of mis-information and prevarication before they boarded a plane.


Pronunciation: /prəˈverəˌkādər/
Example sentences
  • They are all castrated, effete prevaricators, and there isn't a real man among them to stand up and dare say the truth.
  • The machine has no respect for doubters or prevaricators; it has no patience for those uncertain of their position.
  • But the future of these two relatively junior prevaricators is not really the point.

Words that rhyme with prevaricate


Definition of prevaricate in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day innocuous
Pronunciation: iˈnäkyo͞oəs
not harmful or offensive