prevaricate

prevaricate
prevaricate, procrastinate
Because their meanings, or at least the implications of their meanings, overlap, these two words are often confused. To prevaricate (derived from Latin praevaricari meaning literally ‘to walk crookedly’) is ‘to speak or act evasively’, whereas to procrastinate (derived from Latin cras meaning ‘tomorrow’) is ‘to put off or delay’. You might prevaricate in order to procrastinate, but the senses should be carefully distinguished. Examples:

• She prevaricated, wanting the story verified or denied before sharing it with him —L. Grant-Adamson, 1989

• Coleridge never arrived, and early in January the now beleaguered Southey decided that his endlessly procrastinating friend must be brought back from London —T. Mayberry, 1992.


Modern English usage. 2014.

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  • Prevaricate — Pre*var i*cate, v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Prevaricated}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Prevaricating}.] [L. praevaricatus, p. p. of praevaricari to walk crookedly, to collude; prae before + varicare to straddle, fr. varicus straddling, varus bent. See {Varicose}.] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • prevaricate — I verb be dishonest, be evasive, be untruthful, bear false witness, beg the question, belie, conceal the truth, concoct, counterfeit, deceive, defraud, delude, deviate, deviate from the truth, dissemble, dissimulate, distort, dodge, dupe, elude,… …   Law dictionary

  • prevaricate — [pri var′i kāt΄] vi. prevaricated, prevaricating [< L praevaricatus, pp. of praevaricari, to prevaricate, lit., to walk crookedly < prae , before + varicare, to straddle < varicus, straddling < varus, bent apart < IE base * wa > …   English World dictionary

  • Prevaricate — Pre*var i*cate, v. t. To evade by a quibble; to transgress; to pervert. [Obs.] Jer. Taylor. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • prevaricate — 1580s, to transgress, from L. praevaricari to make a sham accusation, deviate, lit. walk crookedly; in Church L., to transgress (see PREVARICATION (Cf. prevarication)). Meaning to speak evasively is from 1630s. Related: Prevaricated;… …   Etymology dictionary

  • prevaricate — [v] deceive; stretch the truth beat around the bush*, beg the question*, belie, cavil, con, distort, dodge, equivocate, evade, exaggerate, fabricate, falsify, fib, garble, hedge, invent, jive*, lie*, misrepresent, misspeak, palter, phony up*, put …   New thesaurus

  • prevaricate — ► VERB ▪ avoid giving a direct answer when asked a question. DERIVATIVES prevarication noun prevaricator noun. ORIGIN originally in the sense «transgress»: from Latin praevaricari walk crookedly, deviate …   English terms dictionary

  • prevaricate — verb /prɪˈvaɹɪkeɪt,pɹɪˈvæɹɪkeɪt,pɹɪˈvɛɹɪkeɪt/ a) To shift or turn from direct speech or behaviour; to evade the truth; to waffle or be (intentionally) ambiguous. The people saw the politician prevaricate every day. b) To behave in an evasive way… …   Wiktionary

  • prevaricate — [[t]prɪvæ̱rɪkeɪt[/t]] prevaricates, prevaricating, prevaricated VERB If you prevaricate, you avoid giving a direct answer or making a firm decision. British ministers continued to prevaricate. Derived words: prevarication… …   English dictionary

  • prevaricate — [prɪ varɪkeɪt] verb speak or act evasively. Derivatives prevarication noun prevaricator noun Origin C16 (earlier (ME) as prevarication and prevaricator), in the sense go astray, transgress : from L. praevaricat , praevaricari walk crookedly,… …   English new terms dictionary

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