Definition of equivocal in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪˈkwɪvək(ə)l/


1Open to more than one interpretation; ambiguous: the equivocal nature of her remarks
More example sentences
  • Some ambiguous changes were possible because of unresolved phylogeny or equivocal reconstruction.
  • This deformation renders interpretations of the original nature of such contacts equivocal.
  • However, the evidence on industrial disputes is at least equivocal and there are indications of higher levels of conflict that challenge notions of quiescent workforces unwilling to take action.
1.1(Of a person) using ambiguous or evasive language: he has always been equivocal about the meaning of his lyrics
More example sentences
  • The opportunist card is once again never far from the top of the deck - they are equivocal about whether they will support it.
  • They were neutral, they were equivocal, I agree.
  • They are equivocal and, in some cases, they are just wrong.
ambiguous, indefinite, non-committal, vague, indeterminate, imprecise, inexact, indistinct, inexplicit, blurry, hazy, foggy, nebulous, borderline;
obscure, unclear, cryptic, enigmatic, puzzling, perplexing, gnomic, Delphic;
ambivalent, uncertain, unsure, indecisive, inconclusive, doubtful;
roundabout, oblique, circumlocutory, circuitous, periphrastic;
misleading, evasive, elusive, duplicitous, equivocating, prevaricating;
contradictory, confusing, two-edged, double-edged, paradoxical, confused, muddled
1.2Uncertain or questionable in nature: the results of the investigation were equivocal
More example sentences
  • Monteith reads the novels included in her study as offering equivocal answers to this question of microcosmic social change.
  • Therefore, results may remain equivocal or questionable regardless of the number of times the experiment is performed.
  • His failure in this respect left Anglo-Irish relations in an equivocal and uncertain state.



Pronunciation: /ɪkwɪvəˈkalɪti/
Example sentences
  • But when we are alerted to the equivocality of the image, the buildings are dismissed as generic, no different from those that may be found in any large metropolis, regardless of geographical location.
  • The fresco, as some of Michelangelo's most articulate critics pointed out, seems to court scandal, to exult in the equivocality of gesture and posture far exceeding that in any previous work by the artist.
  • This theoretical concept assumes that messages contain a certain level of equivocality, and that some media are more capable of reducing that equivocality than others.


Pronunciation: /ɪˈkwɪvək(ə)li/
Example sentences
  • The second was that the atmosphere of euphoria in the United States, caused by the strong economy, was equivocally taken as a revival of ‘American triumphalism’.
  • It gave them plenty of equivocally juicy dialog, which made both their motivations clearer and their actions more believable.
  • The Clinton administration said it would come to Taiwan's defense, but only said this equivocally.


Pronunciation: /ɪˈkwɪvək(ə)lnəs/
Example sentences
  • Corthell concludes that Donne constructs a ‘recusant subject of satire,’ a subject, that is, whose equivocalness is both a response to and a production of the discontinuous discursive formations available to the Elizabethan satirist.
  • Most normative models of strategy tend to accord middle management a supporting role at best; executives are advised to reduce equivocalness so that middle managers can act on clear instructions.
  • But equivocalness hangs in the air - we're waiting for it to tip over.


Mid 16th century: from late Latin aequivocus, from Latin aequus 'equally' + vocare 'to call'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: equivo|cal

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