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Equivocation   /ɪkwɪvəkˈeɪʃən/   Listen
Equivocation

noun
1.
A statement that is not literally false but that cleverly avoids an unpleasant truth.  Synonym: evasion.
2.
Intentionally vague or ambiguous.  Synonyms: evasiveness, prevarication.
3.
Falsification by means of vague or ambiguous language.  Synonym: tergiversation.






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"Equivocation" Quotes from Famous Books



... other hand, who is the metaphysician in swearing, sometimes borders on equivocation. He decidedly goes farther than the Englisman, not because he has less honesty, but more prudence. He will assent to, or deny a proposition; for the Englishman's "I don't know," and the Scotchman's "I dinna ken," are two very distinct ...
— Phil Purcel, The Pig-Driver; The Geography Of An Irish Oath; The Lianhan Shee • William Carleton

... would go to the fountain-head. I would call forthwith upon the General himself, and demand, in explicit terms, a solution of this abominable piece of mystery. Here, at least, there should be no chance for equivocation. I would be plain, positive, peremptory—as short as pie-crust—as concise as ...
— The Works of Edgar Allan Poe - Volume 4 (of 5) of the Raven Edition • Edgar Allan Poe

... accustoming the child to consider the human body, in all its parts and functions, as something natural of which one need not be ashamed, lastly by giving instruction on the relations of the sexes, in due time and in a serious manner, instead of replying to ingenuous questions by pious falsehoods, by equivocation, or by an air ...
— The Sexual Question - A Scientific, psychological, hygienic and sociological study • August Forel

... nicknames have in a considerable degree sprung up;—or it is the language of suppressed passion, and especially of a hardly smothered personal dislike. The first and last of these combine in Hamlet's case; and I have little doubt that Farmer is right in supposing the equivocation carried on in the expression "too much i' the sun," ...
— Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher • S. T. Coleridge

... pert but wholly inoffensive inquiry. He seemed to ask it as a matter of course and as one who had the right to be answered without equivocation. ...
— The Man Who Knew • Edgar Wallace

... wanting, or takes some unrecognizable form. But in far the plurality of instances the two parts of the plant's treasury are easily distinguishable, and must be separately studied, whatever their apparent closeness of relation, or, (as in all natural things,) the equivocation sometimes taking place between the one and the other. To me, the especially curious point in this matter is that, while I find the most elaborate accounts given by botanists of the stages of growth in each of these parts of the treasury, ...
— Proserpina, Volume 1 - Studies Of Wayside Flowers • John Ruskin

... and turmoil passed, there grew steadily and surely in the Roosevelt ranks a demand for a severance of relations with the fraudulent Convention and the formation of a new party devoted, without equivocation or compromise, to Progressive principles. A typical incident of these days of confusion and uncertainty was the drawing up of a declaration of purpose by a Progressive alternate from New Jersey, disgusted with the progress of the machine steam roller and disappointed ...
— Theodore Roosevelt and His Times - A Chronicle of the Progressive Movement; Volume 47 in The - Chronicles Of America Series • Harold Howland

... revival of religious faith was essentially the triumph of profane feeling in the garb of religious: the sanctification, however much disguised, of all forms of human love. One is fully aware of the moral dangers attendant upon every such equivocation; and the great saints (like their last modern representatives, the fervent, shrewd, and kindly leaders of certain Protestant revivals) were probably, for all their personal extravagances, most fully prepared for every sort of ...
— Renaissance Fancies and Studies - Being a Sequel to Euphorion • Violet Paget (AKA Vernon Lee)

... doctrine at a single jump. The Cumberland Road, it is true, was already in progress; and for that the gentleman had also voted. But there were, and are now, peculiarities about that particular expenditure which sometimes satisfy scrupulous consciences; but this bill of the gentleman's, without equivocation or saving clause, without if, or and, or but, occupied the whole ground at once, and announced internal improvement as one of the objects of this government, on a grand and systematic plan. The bill, Sir, seemed indeed too strong. It ...
— The Great Speeches and Orations of Daniel Webster • Daniel Webster

... pedagogues are seriously reflecting over the query, Cui bono?—Is it worth while? Few, indeed, are left who have the intensity of belief and the intrepidity of spirit to defend the higher pretentions of the Negro without apology or equivocation. The old form of appeal has become insipid and uninspiring; the ear has become dull to its dinging. The old blade has become blunt and needs a new sharpness of point and keenness of edge. Where now is heard the tocsin ...
— Masterpieces of Negro Eloquence - The Best Speeches Delivered by the Negro from the days of - Slavery to the Present Time • Various

... deceived me with words of equivocation to gain my ear," replied the king, mustering all the strength that still remained to him, "and you ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 59, No. 363, January, 1846 • Various

... from his table. He had remembered me as near to the office. Did I know anything about it? I said, "How could I?" I was dreadfully scared, but I replied that I had certainly gone through his office and had left both doors open. Then he said, "It is too grave a matter for equivocation, and I ask, Did you take it?" I said I was insulted, and upon this he lost his temper and ...
— A Diplomatic Adventure • S. Weir Mitchell

... speak'st false. Upon the next tree shalt thou hang alive, Till famine cling thee: if thy speech be sooth, I care not if thou dost for me as much.— I pull in resolution; and begin To doubt th' equivocation of the fiend, That lies like truth: "Fear not till Birnam wood Do come to Dunsinane," and now a wood Comes ...
— The Works of Samuel Johnson in Nine Volumes - Volume V: Miscellaneous Pieces • Samuel Johnson

... ever, with Fanny, departed from the utmost truth. Lee Randon had a sudden vision, born of that feeling returning from the shed, of the illimitable tranquility, the release from all triviality, of an honesty beyond equivocation or assault. Fanny, in her way, possessed it; but that, he saw, was made vulnerable, open to disaster, through her love for him. It was necessary, for complete safety, to be entirely insulated from the humanity of emotions. That condition he instinctively ...
— Cytherea • Joseph Hergesheimer

... method of conveying a falsehood with the heart only, without making the tongue guilty of an untruth, by the means of equivocation and imposture, hath quieted the conscience of many a notable deceiver; and yet, when we consider that it is Omniscience on which these endeavour to impose, it may possibly seem capable of affording only a very ...
— The History of Tom Jones, a foundling • Henry Fielding

... astronomy, of which so little is yet known, I trust it will not be an intrusion to tell you of a new, extraordinary, and very unexpected fact, in the complete occultation of one "fixed" star by another, under circumstances which admit of no possible doubt or equivocation. ...
— Personal Recollections, from Early Life to Old Age, of Mary Somerville • Mary Somerville

... do not disapprove but approve of the boycott of the councils that are going to be formed next year. And why do I do it? The people—the masses,—require from us, the leaders, a clear lead. They do not want any equivocation from us. The suggestion that we should seek election and then refuse to take the oath of allegiance, would only make the nation distrust the leaders. It is not a clear lead to the nation. So I say to you, my countrymen, not to fall into this trap. We shall ...
— Freedom's Battle - Being a Comprehensive Collection of Writings and Speeches on the Present Situation • Mahatma Gandhi

... friendliness, but there was a note of undisputable authority in his voice that silenced whatever objection the girl might have offered. Already, she began to feel that this man knew. He would cherish her to his last breath, but what he said she must obey, both for his sake and her own. There was no equivocation possible; he had taken command; he would give orders, which he expected her to obey promptly; he would do everything for the best. He knew, and she did not. Therefore, she would trust herself ...
— The Wilderness Trail • Frank Williams

... detect this specimen of what Pope somewhere calls "pretty genteel equivocation." He was reconciled to Pope, and taught the poor poet by experience that his friendship was worse than his enmity. He wrote him letters of criticism; he forced poor Pope to negotiate for him with managers and to bring distinguished friends to the performances of his dreary plays; nay, to read through, ...
— Alexander Pope - English Men of Letters Series • Leslie Stephen

... country, Germany has given us no single reasonable cause of complaint." The Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal believes the German reply would carry more weight and persuasion "if it could be considered wholly and apart as an ex parte statement." "Without equivocation and with a politeness of offensively insinuating," the Boston Transcript concludes, "Germany rejects each and all of our demands and attempts to bargain with respect to ...
— New York Times Current History; The European War, Vol 2, No. 5, August, 1915 • Various

... end but as we hope, thy reward shall not be wanting.—And now to business.—Sir Henry Lee, undo me the secret spring of yonder picture of your ancestor. Nay, spare yourself the trouble and guilt of falsehood or equivocation, and, I say, undo me that ...
— Woodstock; or, The Cavalier • Sir Walter Scott

... one of them! I suppose this is some vile equivocation; you have done worse, you have had the barbarity, the baseness, to attempt to poison his dog; the poisoned meat was found in your pocket ...
— The Parent's Assistant • Maria Edgeworth

... ready to try to answer as I was to ask, "What is it?" I said they are truthful. That is their reputation with many of the white men I met, and I have reason to believe that the reputation is under ordinary circumstances well founded. They answered promptly and without equivocation "No" or "Yes" or "I don't know." And they are affectionate to one another, and, so far as I saw, amiable in their domestic and social intercourse. Parental affection is characteristic of their home life, as several illustrative instances I might mention would show. I ...
— The Seminole Indians of Florida • Clay MacCauley

... professor. In his /Address to the Nobles of Germany/, in his works /On the Mass/, /On the Improvement of Christian Morality/, and /On the Babylonian Captivity/, he proclaimed himself a political as well as a religious revolutionary. There was no longer any concealment or equivocation. The veil was lifted at last, and Luther stood forth to the world as the declared enemy of the Church and the Pope, the champion of the Bible as the sole rule of faith, and the defender of individual judgment as its only interpreter. ...
— History of the Catholic Church from the Renaissance to the French • Rev. James MacCaffrey

... sagacious enough to discern something very villainous in his aspect; which (begging their pardon) is the very picture of simplicity; and the justice himself put a very unfavourable construction upon some of his answers, which, he said, savoured of the ambiguity and equivocation of an old offender; but, in my opinion, it would have been more just and humane to impute them to the confusion into which we may suppose a poor country lad to be thrown on such an occasion. I am still persuaded he is innocent; ...
— The Expedition of Humphry Clinker • Tobias Smollett

... demanded, first, "the complete re-establishment, in loyalty, as shown by an honest recognition of the unity of the Republic, and the duty of allegiance to it at all times, without mental reservation or equivocation of any kind." How Mr. Sumner could determine that "the recognition of the unity of the Republic" was honest, how he could know whether there was not, after all, a mental reservation on the part of the rebels now swearing allegiance, he did not attempt to ...
— Twenty Years of Congress, Volume 2 (of 2) • James Gillespie Blaine

... put on our guard against this species of deceit in the highest matters, by observing how readily we glide into it, in things of smaller moment. Deceits of every shade, from the lie direct to the most attenuated equivocation, spring in the complicated intercourse of modern society, like weeds in a moist summer on a fallow field. Assuredly, unless our hand be diligent in digging out these bitter roots, we shall not grow rich in the graces of the Spirit. You are ...
— The Parables of Our Lord • William Arnot

... any other, the age of falsehood. Once, to be suspected of equivocation was enough to soil a gentleman's escutcheon; but now it has become a strange merit in a partisan or statesman, always and scrupulously to tell the truth. Lies are part of the regular ammunition of all ...
— Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry • Albert Pike

... he went away, or to relate the conclusions of half-accomplished projects. Cynthia was often on the point of some gay, careless inquiry as to where he had been, and what he had been doing; but Molly, who conjectured the truth, as often interfered to spare him the pain of equivocation—a pain that her tender conscience would have felt for him, much more than he would have felt it ...
— Wives and Daughters • Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

... of the text, and if true, the date of the title-page (1630) must be either a misprint or an equivocation on the part of the author. Or this instance and the several others similar to it may have been added by Medina to his manuscript after he had completed it to the date of the title-page; or they may be ...
— The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898, Volume XXIII, 1629-30 • Various

... officer of a State in his official capacity was not a suit against a State could have held to the strict letter of the law." The author further contends that this criticism of the jurist arises from the fact that he did not believe in equivocation. ...
— The Journal of Negro History, Vol. I. Jan. 1916 • Various

... from Pope Innocent III., Kulin repaired to Rome to give an account of his conduct and faith. Having succeeded in diverting suspicions about his orthodoxy, he returned to Bosnia, where he gave out that the Pope was well satisfied with his profession of faith,—a slight equivocation, which will hardly bear an enquiry,—and thus induced many more to join the Patarenes. Hearing of this, the Pope requested the King of Hungary to compel Kulin to eject them from the country, at the same time ordering Bernard, Archbishop of ...
— Herzegovina - Or, Omer Pacha and the Christian Rebels • George Arbuthnot

... so mongrel in breed as the English, there is a fatal power of equivocation put into men's hands, almost whether they will or no, in being able to use Greek or Latin words for an idea when they want it to be awful; and Saxon or otherwise common words when they want it to be vulgar. What a singular and ...
— Harvard Classics Volume 28 - Essays English and American • Various

... though with no suspicion that the speaker had been the object of her husband's affection. She thought it must have been the other sister, now in India, and that this gave the key to many allusions she had heard and which she marvelled at herself for not having understood. The equivocation had entirely deceived her, and she little thought she had been taking counsel with the rival who was secretly triumphing in Raymond's involuntary constancy, and sowing seeds of vengeance against an ...
— The Three Brides • Charlotte M. Yonge

... superstitious and idolatrous, and I do solemnly in the presence of God, profess, testify and declare that I do make this Declaration and every part thereof in the plain and ordinary sense of the words read unto me as they are commonly understood by English Protestants, without any evasion, equivocation, or mental reservation whatsoever and without any dispensation already granted me for this purpose by the Pope or any other authority or person whatsoever, or without any hope of any such dispensation from any person or authority whatsoever, or without thinking that I am or can be acquitted before ...
— The Life of King Edward VII - with a sketch of the career of King George V • J. Castell Hopkins

... infection spread to the national conscience. Political double-dealings naturally grew out of verbal double meanings. The teeth of the new dragon were sown by the Cadmus who introduced the alphabet of equivocation. What was levity in the time of the Tudors grew to regicide and revolution in the age ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. I, No. 1, Nov. 1857 • Various

... the scaffold in the cold morning air, he foiled James and Philip at one thrust, and conquered the esteem of all posterity. It is only now, after two centuries and a half, that history is beginning to hint that there was not a little special pleading and some excusable equivocation in this great apology which rang through monarchical England like the blast of a clarion, and which echoed in secret places till the oppressed rose up and claimed ...
— Raleigh • Edmund Gosse

... be otherwise?" countered Brentwick with a trace of asperity. "Am I to be denied my adventure? Sir, I refuse without equivocation. Your very bearing breathes of Romance. There must be an adventure forthcoming, Philip; otherwise my disappointment will be so acute that I shall be regretfully obliged seriously to consider my right, as a householder, to show you ...
— The Black Bag • Louis Joseph Vance

... sufficient rigour of cross-examination. But certainly the judge thought it no part of his duty to make 'the worse appear the better reason'; to throw dust into the eyes of the jury; or to labour any point of equivocation for the sake of giving the prisoner an extra chance of escaping. And, if it is really right that the prisoner, when obviously guilty, should be aided in evading his probable conviction, then certainly in past ...
— The Posthumous Works of Thomas De Quincey, Vol. 1 (2 vols) • Thomas De Quincey

... by both my hands, and said, Well said, my pretty Pamela, if you can help it! But I will not let you help it. Tell me, are they in your pocket? No, sir, said I; my heart up at my mouth. Said he, I know you won't tell a downright fib for the world: but for equivocation! no jesuit ever went beyond you. Answer me then, Are they in neither of your pockets? No, sir, said I. Are they not, said he, about your stays? No, sir, replied I: But pray no more questions: for ask me ever so much, ...
— Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded • Samuel Richardson

... Blint seriously—he was much more an outsider, by the larger scale, even than a Roman prince who consented to be in abeyance. Yet it was past finding out, either, how such a woman as Lady Castledean could take him—since this question but sank for him again into the fathomless depths of English equivocation. He knew them all, as was said, "well"; he had lived with them, stayed with them, dined, hunted, shot and done various other things with them; but the number of questions about them he couldn't have answered had much rather grown than shrunken, so that experience struck ...
— The Golden Bowl • Henry James

... of equivocation and delay ineffectual, the Araucanians flew to arms, and having united to the number of five hundred men under the toqui Curignancu, they proceeded to besiege Cabrito in his camp. Burgoa, who had been made prisoner and very ...
— A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Vol. 5 • Robert Kerr

... She tried to check herself, to summon up a glittering equivocation; but his face, his voice, the very words he used, were like so many hammer-strokes demolishing the unrealities that imprisoned her. Here was some one who spoke her language, who knew her meanings, who understood instinctively all the deep-seated ...
— The Custom of the Country • Edith Wharton

... of words, logomachy, equivocation; theft could not be committed at Sparta, when everything was common property. What you call "theft" was ...
— Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary • Voltaire

... my friend, Phoenix's opinion but I am not with my friend Sapor either. I do not believe that the party is bound to embrace a cause as soon as we are told that that cause is just. That, I am afraid, is a grievous abuse of words and a dangerous equivocation. For social justice is not revolutionary justice. They are both in perpetual antagonism: to serve the one is to oppose the other. As for me, my choice is made. I am for revolutionary justice as against social justice. Still, in the present case I am against ...
— Penguin Island • Anatole France

... comfortable and happy life already, and have no right to look beyond it! I have determined to remove this weight from my mind. I doubt whether I have not done wrong, even now; and today I will, without reserve or equivocation, disclose my real reasons to Mr Cherryble, and implore him to take immediate measures for removing this young lady to the shelter of some ...
— The Life And Adventures Of Nicholas Nickleby • Charles Dickens

... truth, no matter how unflattering, is always far more agreeable to me than equivocation, or disingenuous-ness. Does my ward believe that it will conduce to her future happiness to leave my roof, and find ...
— Infelice • Augusta Jane Evans Wilson

... a deceiver. Thou hast, perhaps, with sly equivocation, The word avoided, which would make thee guilty Although thy will was party to the crime. Remember, that no juggler's tricks can blind The eye of fire which ...
— The Works of Frederich Schiller in English • Frederich Schiller

... father, subsequent to Caleb Brent's funeral, Donald McKaye realized full well that his love-affair, hitherto indefinite as to outcome, had crystallized into a definite issue. For him, there could be no evasion or equivocation; he had to choose, promptly and for all time, between his family and Nan Brent—between respectability, honor, wealth, and approbation on one hand, and pity, contempt, censure, and poverty on the other. Confronting this impasse, he was ...
— Kindred of the Dust • Peter B. Kyne

... formation of types in our mind, with reference to which examples are to be judged. I say the formation of them, for we can hardly consider the theory that they are eternal as a possible one in psychology. The Platonic doctrine on that point is a striking illustration of an equivocation we mentioned in the beginning;[7] namely, that the import of an experience is regarded as a manifestation of its cause — the product of a faculty substituted for the description of its function. Eternal types are the instrument of aesthetic life, not its foundation. Take the aesthetic attitude, ...
— The Sense of Beauty - Being the Outlines of Aesthetic Theory • George Santayana

... remarked, moreover, that as this epithet civil is, through its ordinary signification, brought into connexion with what precedes it, so is it, through its unusual meaning of grave, brought into connexion with what follows, it thus furnishing that equivocation of sense of which our great dramatist is so fond, rarely missing an opportunity of "paltering with us in ...
— Notes and Queries, Number 201, September 3, 1853 • Various

... friend, do not question me; I have either answered your father's questionings as I answer every one, truly, in word and spirit, or told him, when he asked what I must not reveal, that I could not tell. I never equivocated in my whole life; equivocation is a subterfuge, mean as well as sinful—the special ...
— The Buccaneer - A Tale • Mrs. S. C. Hall

... a lie, from beginning to end! What else should it be?" And the woman, in the hurry of her passion, confirmed the equivocation with an oath; and then ran on, as if to turn her own thoughts, as well as Grace's, into commonplaces about "a poor old mother, who cares for nothing but you; who has worked her fingers to the bone ...
— Two Years Ago, Volume II. • Charles Kingsley

... and, without equivocation, offers to establish direct relations between God and man. Philosophy denies its title, and disputes its power. Why? Because they are founded on the supernatural. What is the supernatural? Can there be any thing more miraculous than the existence of man and the world?—any thing ...
— Lothair • Benjamin Disraeli

... myself or any other person in the known world, whereby the secrets of Masonry may be unlawfully obtained through my unworthiness. To all which I do most solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, without the least equivocation, mental reservation, or self-evasion of mind in me whatever; $1$2: so help me God, and keep me steadfast in the ...
— The Mysteries of Free Masonry - Containing All the Degrees of the Order Conferred in a Master's Lodge • William Morgan

... Welbeck to conceal from every one my former condition; but to explain in what manner this bundle was lost, and how my intercourse with Clavering had taken place, was to violate this promise. It was possible, perhaps, to escape the confession of the truth by equivocation. Falsehoods were easily invented, and might lead her far away from my true condition; but I was wholly unused to equivocation. Never yet had a lie polluted my lips. I was not weak enough to be ashamed of my origin. This lady had an interest in the fate of Clavering, ...
— Arthur Mervyn - Or, Memoirs of the Year 1793 • Charles Brockden Brown

... my circumstances were such as to render you that assistance you so much need; would that I could raise you from such unendurable misery! But to speak without equivocation, my condition is as penniless as ...
— My Life: or the Adventures of Geo. Thompson - Being the Auto-Biography of an Author. Written by Himself. • George Thompson

... reasoning.] [False or vicious reasoning; show of reason.] — N. intuition, instinct, association, hunch, gut feeling; presentiment, premonition; rule of thumb; superstition; astrology^; faith (supposition) 514. sophistry, paralogy^, perversion, casuistry, jesuitry, equivocation, evasion; chicane, chicanery; quiddet^, quiddity; mystification; special pleading; speciousness &c adj.; nonsense &c 497; word sense, tongue sense. false reasoning, vicious reasoning, circular reasoning; petitio ...
— Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases: Body • Roget

... know it. Now, sir, I will not act upon a question which admits of doubt. We have passed along in our career for so many years that we have arrived at a point when we must understand each other distinctly and unequivocally, and I will not leave a single point open to equivocation. It must be expressly settled, and settled not only in express words, not only in unmistakable language; but I go further than that; it must emanate from the hearts of a people disposed to stand by it; and if they will not stand by it, I will not ...
— A Report of the Debates and Proceedings in the Secret Sessions of the Conference Convention • Lucius Eugene Chittenden

... notice what this strange text says. Without the least equivocation it says that God raised this man Pharaoh up that He might show forth His power in him. And that purpose He accomplished. This ghastly piece of royal rottenness has not been thrown upon this shore by the hand of man. As we look at him we see in him a monument of the power ...
— Sermons on Biblical Characters • Clovis G. Chappell

... and manner baffled equivocation. "What is it to you if he is?" she returned with a brave attempt to suggest cold displeasure. But her lip trembled and ...
— The Hunt Ball Mystery • Magnay, William

... of the affair just as they occurred, and without equivocation. Mr. Sherwin listened without interruption, and also, I ...
— The Gold Hunter's Adventures - Or, Life in Australia • William H. Thomes

... doubt that the myth-makers transformed Lykaon into a wolf because of his unlucky name; because what really meant "bright man" seemed to them to mean "wolf-man"; but it has by no means been proved that a similar equivocation occurred in the case of all the primitive Aryan werewolves, nor has it been shown to be probable that among each people the being with the uncanny name got thus accidentally confounded with the particular beast ...
— Myths and Myth-Makers - Old Tales and Superstitions Interpreted by Comparative Mythology • John Fiske

... true," he went on. "Have courage and be ugly. If you like bad music, then say so frankly. Show yourselves, see yourselves as you are. Kid your souls of the loathsome burden of all your compromise and equivocation. Wash it in pure water. How long is it since you have seen. yourselves in a mirror? I will show you yourselves. Composers, virtuosi, conductors, singers, and you, dear public. You shall for once know yourselves.... Be what you like: but, for any sake, be ...
— Jean-Christophe, Vol. I • Romain Rolland

... doing the utmost violence to themselves, acting in the most palpable contradiction to their very nature. But if there be any such thing in mankind as putting half-deceits upon themselves; which there plainly is, either by avoiding reflection, or (if they do reflect) by religious equivocation, subterfuges, and palliating matters to themselves; by these means conscience may be laid asleep, and they may go on in a course of wickedness with less disturbance. All the various turns, doubles, and intricacies in a dishonest heart cannot be unfolded or ...
— Human Nature - and Other Sermons • Joseph Butler

... no wonder. She to claim the rank of a goddess! Besides, Gwen suspected that Adrian was only prevaricating. Trothplight was one thing, official betrothal another. It was almost too poor a shuffle to accuse him of, but she was always flying at the throat of equivocation, even when she knew she might be outclassed by it. "You are playing with words, Mr. Torrens," said she. "You mean that you and this young lady are not 'engaged to be married'? Perhaps not, but that has nothing to do with the matter. ...
— When Ghost Meets Ghost • William Frend De Morgan

... the Pathfinder, Master Muir, for a garrison to so strong a post?" cried Mabel, resorting to an equivocation which the circumstances rendered very excusable. "What will your French and Indian companions think of the aim of the ...
— The Pathfinder - The Inland Sea • James Fenimore Cooper

... Thuillier, with authority, "let us have no equivocation; do you refuse, yes or no, to marry Monsieur ...
— The Lesser Bourgeoisie • Honore de Balzac

... to him. That would never do; so he set to work to repudiate it. The friends that knew he exhorted to know nothing; the rest he endeavoured to persuade that he was not the author, using many forms of equivocation. He rises to his greatest heights in addressing cardinals. To Campegio, then in London, he ...
— The Age of Erasmus - Lectures Delivered in the Universities of Oxford and London • P. S. Allen

... An equivocation of names also, probably, aided in originating the story. The island of Cyprus is surrounded with promontories which rise out of the sea, and whose pointed rocks appear at a distance like horns, from which it had the ...
— The Metamorphoses of Ovid - Literally Translated into English Prose, with Copious Notes - and Explanations • Publius Ovidius Naso

... saying, 'Although the Conciliator is of my principles, and those of our friend, I am astonished at your conjectures; it is neither his style nor mine.'[18] Yet Turgot had written it. This is his one public literary equivocation. Let us, at all events, allow that it was resorted to, not to break the law with safety, nor to cloak a malicious attack on a person, but to give additional weight by means of a harmless prosopopoeia, to an argument for the ...
— Critical Miscellanies (Vol. 2 of 3) - Turgot • John Morley

... LIBERTAS; yet no man can thence infer that a particular man has more liberty or immunity from the service of the commonwealth there than in Constantinople. Whether a commonwealth be monarchical or popular the freedom is the same." The mountain has brought forth, and we have a little equivocation! For to say that a Lucchese has no more liberty or immunity from the laws of Lucca than a Turk has from those of Constantinople; and to say that a Lucchese has no more liberty or immunity by the laws of Lucca, than a Turk has by those of Constantinople, are pretty different speeches. The first ...
— The Commonwealth of Oceana • James Harrington

... you mean to do on every occasion, and take it for granted you mean to do right. If a friend asks a favor, you should grant it, if it is reasonable; if not, tell him plainly why you cannot: you will wrong him and wrong yourself by equivocation of any kind. Never do a wrong thing to make a friend or keep one; the man who requires you to do so, is dearly purchased at a sacrifice. Deal kindly, but firmly, with all your classmates; you will find it the policy which wears best. Above all, do ...
— A Life of Gen. Robert E. Lee • John Esten Cooke

... justify the traffic without bothering himself about its influence upon the lives of the vulgar populace. But he was neither humanist nor schoolman. He had a conscience which made indifference impossible, and a simplicity and directness of vision which compelled him to brush aside all equivocation and go straight to the heart of things. With it all he was at once a devout and believing son of the Church, and a practical preacher profoundly concerned for the spiritual and moral welfare of the common people." (p. ...
— Luther Examined and Reexamined - A Review of Catholic Criticism and a Plea for Revaluation • W. H. T. Dau

... be specified in some way, if we do not wish to see the motto invalidated by equivocation, by which we are free to suppose that he meant to say that his love was but for an instant—that is, for an atom of time, and of nothing more, or that he means that it is ...
— The Heroic Enthusiasts,(1 of 2) (Gli Eroici Furori) - An Ethical Poem • Giordano Bruno

... unhappy criminal. But still, when, with the knowledge he had now acquired, the man looked calmly back, his cheek burned with remorseful shame at his unreflecting companionship in a life of subterfuge and equivocation, the true nature of which, the boy (so circumstanced as we have shown him) might be forgiven for not at that time comprehending. Two advantages resulted, however, from the error and the remorse: first, the humiliation ...
— Night and Morning, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... was still possible—perhaps it might be inevitable— for him to accept frankly the altered conditions, and avow Baldassarre's existence; but hardly without casting an unpleasant light backward on his original reticence as studied equivocation in order to avoid the fulfilment of a secretly recognised claim, to say nothing of his quiet settlement of himself and investment of his florins, when, it would be clear, his benefactor's fate had not been certified. It was at least provisionally wise to act ...
— Romola • George Eliot

... consideration. An English official who was a captive at Bokhara (or Khiva) was offered his life by the Khan if he would abjure the Christian faith and say he was a Moslem; but he preferred death rather than the advantage of a temporary equivocation. I do not suppose that he was a specially pious man at home or that he was a martyr to religious principle, but for the moment Christianity stood for England and English honor and civilization. I can believe that a rough English sailor, who had not used a sacred name, except in ...
— Baddeck and That Sort of Thing • Charles Dudley Warner

... Voltaire, in spite of his genius, would not perhaps have reached posterity under his name of Arouet, especially amongst the French, who always give way so easily to their keen sense of ridicule and equivocation. How could they have imagined that a writer 'a rouet' could be a man of genius? And D'Alembert, would he have attained his high fame, his universal reputation, if he had been satisfied with his name of M. Le Rond, or Mr. Allround? ...
— The Memoires of Casanova, Complete • Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

... because on earth it is taught in your schools that the angelic nature is such that it understands, and remembers, and wills, I will speak further, in order that thou mayest see the truth pure, which there below is mixed, through the equivocation in such like teaching. These substances, from the time that they were glad in the face of God, have not turned their sight from it, from which nothing is concealed. Therefore they have not their vision interrupted by a new object, ...
— The Divine Comedy, Volume 3, Paradise [Paradiso] • Dante Alighieri

... more than I suspect now," was his easy equivocation. "And all that I suspect now is that some petty enemy is attempting to scare ...
— The Historical Nights' Entertainment • Rafael Sabatini

... hearing all sorts of reflections on the "Irish," whom some mad abolitionists would gladly enslave in place of the blacks, poor Judy thought to save Alia from the mortification of finding herself "Irish," by her equivocation and falsehood. ...
— The Cross and the Shamrock • Hugh Quigley

... have there been made famous. To the notoriety which he thus acquired he owes his introduction into the French language; where 'escobarder' is used in the sense of to equivocate, and 'escobarderie' of subterfuge or equivocation. The name of an unpopular minister of finance, M. de Silhouette, unpopular because he sought to cut down unnecessary expenses in the state, was applied to whatever was cheap, and, as was implied, ...
— English Past and Present • Richard Chenevix Trench

... and other like vulgar expressions of the sporting temper. Whatever the latest authenticated schedule of detail proprieties may say, the accredited canons of decency sanctioned by the institution say without equivocation that emulation and waste are good and their opposites are disreputable. In the crepuscular light of the social nether spaces the details of the code are not apprehended with all the facility that might be desired, and these broad underlying ...
— The Theory of the Leisure Class • Thorstein Veblen

... brave boy,' said Mr. Kendal, who had suffered so much from his elder son's equivocation as to be ready to overlook anything for the sake of truth. 'Here, Uncle Maurice, shake hands with your godson, who ...
— The Young Step-Mother • Charlotte M. Yonge

... Embassy. It is a grave question, therefore, whether we should recall the Regent or refuse to hear these charges. Thou art fresh from Byzantium; thou must know more of this matter than we. Loose thy tongue, put aside equivocation. Say thy mind, it is for us to decide afterwards what is our duty ...
— Pausanias, the Spartan - The Haunted and the Haunters, An Unfinished Historical Romance • Lord Lytton

... however, he yielded to temptation, and went to the theatre. On returning home about eleven o'clock, he found his father sitting up for him. To the stern interrogation as to where he had been so late, he replied with equivocation, and finally ...
— The Iron Rule - or, Tyranny in the Household • T. S. Arthur

... them to maintain the unity of the meaning, will always appear obscure; because he will oblige them to deny or to affirm consequences from which they were hitherto accustomed to escape under a constant though unconscious equivocation between the two senses. Thus, for example, Mr. Ricardo sternly insists on the true sense of the word Value, and (what is still more unusual to most men) insists on using it but in one sense; and hence arise consequences which naturally appear at once obscure and paradoxical to M. Say, ...
— Memorials and Other Papers • Thomas de Quincey

... me, if you can, sir," said Jasper, in tones that were almost meek; "you, at least, can say nothing that I will not bear. But I am in my right when I ask you to tell me, without equivocation or reserve, if Sophy, though not actually within these walls, be near you, in this town or its neighbourhood?—in ...
— What Will He Do With It, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... to the public will. The leaders of the one party for the time in the ascendancy govern the nation, by reason of the fact that, being the leaders of this party, they are selected without doubt or equivocation to fill the ...
— The Governments of Europe • Frederic Austin Ogg

... on this floor to speak, except by taking an oath to support and sustain the Constitution of the United States? And when he takes that oath, I do not understand that he has a right to have a mental reservation, or entertain any secret equivocation that he excepts that clause which relates to the surrender of fugitives from service. I know not how a man reconciles it to his conscience to take that oath to support the Constitution, when he believes that Constitution is in violation of the law of God. If a man thus ...
— Cotton is King and The Pro-Slavery Arguments • Various

... could I: that villain Wade often solicited me, and not so prevailing, got me by a trick to write my name on a piece of white paper. So that if a charge come under my hand it was forged by that villain Wade, by writing something above my hand, without my consent or knowledge.' They return. An equivocation was ready. 'Sir, my Lord Cobham has made good all that ever he wrote or said'; having, by his own account, written nothing but his name. This is Sir Anthony Welden's story. One hopes, for the six lords' sake, it may not be true; but there is no reason, in the morality of ...
— Sir Walter Raleigh and his Time from - "Plays and Puritans and Other Historical Essays" • Charles Kingsley

... on the thirtieth day. Hermaphrodism does not occur, however, from this at first uncertain state of affairs, but rather from subsequent developments of the external organs that by their abnormality of formation simulate one or the other sex, while the internal organs may belong without any equivocation of structure to its definite sex; as it has often happened that some of these cases, having been the subject of differences of opinion among experts during life, were, after death, unanimously assigned to one sex by all of the same ...
— History of Circumcision from the Earliest Times to the Present - Moral and Physical Reasons for its Performance • Peter Charles Remondino

... and must quail before the glance of those towards whom he had habitually assumed the attitude of a reprover—that God had disowned him before men and left him unscreened to the triumphant scorn of those who were glad to have their hatred justified—the sense of utter futility in that equivocation with his conscience in dealing with the life of his accomplice, an equivocation which now turned venomously upon him with the full-grown fang of a discovered lie:—all this rushed through him like the agony of terror which fails to kill, and leaves the ears still open to the returning wave ...
— Middlemarch • George Eliot

... illustrious moiety-but, as if the laws of matrimony had no reference to the children to be thence propagated, the children of a left-handed alliance are not entitled to inherit. Shocking consequence of a senseless equivocation, that only satisfies pride, not justice; and calculated for an acquittal at the herald's Office, ...
— The Letters of Horace Walpole, Volume 1 • Horace Walpole

... only been a heretic, like Egremont!" said Morley. Sybil burst into tears. Morley sprang to her. "Swear by the holy Virgin, swear by all the saints, swear by your hope of heaven and by your own sweet name; without equivocation, without reserve, with fulness and with truth, that you will never give your heart or hand to Egremont;—and ...
— Sybil - or the Two Nations • Benjamin Disraeli

... find him trying to ruin the commerce of Switzerland because the Diet arrested a French spy, and deposing Queen Pomare because she interfered with the sale of French brandies; and, as his last act, eluding an express promise by a miserable verbal equivocation, and sowing the seeds of a future war of succession in order to get for one of his sons an advantageous establishment ...
— Correspondence & Conversations of Alexis de Tocqueville with Nassau William Senior from 1834 to 1859, Vol. 2 • Alexis de Tocqueville

... does the name come to be common (for it is not seemingly a case of fortuitous equivocation)? Are different individual things called good by virtue of being from one source, or all conducing to one end, or rather by way of analogy, for that intellect is to the soul as sight to the body, and so on? However, ...
— Ethics • Aristotle

... such a bye-law he may be disfranchised of his vote in electing officers, or of the right to hold office, will be freely admitted. But the words of the old regulation seem expressly, and without equivocation, to require that every member present shall vote. The candidate shall only be admitted "by the unanimous consent of all the members of that lodge then present when the candidate is proposed." This right of the members to elect or reject their candidates is subsequently ...
— The Principles of Masonic Law - A Treatise on the Constitutional Laws, Usages And Landmarks of - Freemasonry • Albert G. Mackey

... Joel had answered his wife instantly, not daring then and there to soothe her by equivocation, but replying truthfully out of his soul: 'No, oh! no.' What did he mean by that? Of what did he stand convicted, and wherefore? These were the thoughts which occupied his mind, especially after the fever had left him, during the long weeks of his recovery. Joel was a man of extraordinary ...
— The Continental Monthly, Vol. 2, No. 2, August, 1862 - Devoted to Literature and National Policy • Various

... myself, and my heart was weary and hopeless. Literature? my heart did not answer the question at once. I was too broken and overcome by the shock of failure; failure precise and stern, admitting of no equivocation. I strove to read: but it was impossible to sit at home almost within earshot of the studio, and with all the memories of defeat still ringing their knells in my heart. Marshall's success clamoured loudly from without; every day, almost every hour of the day, I heard of the medals ...
— Confessions of a Young Man • George Moore

... "No equivocation," burst Lionel. "Have you not known that I loved you? that I was only waiting my uncle's death to make you my wife?—Heaven forgive me that I should thus speak as though I had ...
— Verner's Pride • Mrs. Henry Wood

... is authority and the other is the rights and privileges of his associates. The nervous child needs early to learn to reach a conclusion and to render a decision—to render a decision without equivocation—to move forward in obedience to that decision without quibbling and without question; that is the thing the nervous man and woman must learn in connection with the later conquest of their own nerves; and a foundation for such a mastery of one's unruly nerves is best laid ...
— The Mother and Her Child • William S. Sadler

... with horror the Romish maxim, that, "for a just cause, it is lawful to confirm equivocation with an oath," yet the same principle lurks within their own bosoms, inciting many a well-intentioned soul to "do evil that good may come of it." The two maxims are twin sisters, and children of the father of lies. Persons who think they have delicate consciences ...
— The Elements of Character • Mary G. Chandler

... on an unsuspicious boy, assuming that she did, as a matter of course, conceal her relation with Penderfield. One timid conjecture we have is, that the girl, having to deal with a subject every accepted phrase relating to which is an equivocation or an hypocrisy, really found it impossible to make her position understood by a lover who simply idolized the ground she trod on. Under such circumstances, she may either have given up the attempt in ...
— Somehow Good • William de Morgan

... staff understands me] This equivocation, miserable as it is, has been admitted by Milton in his ...
— Johnson's Notes to Shakespeare Vol. I Comedies • Samuel Johnson

... A TREATISE OF EQUIVOCATION. Wherein is largely discussed the question whether a Catholicke or any other person before a magistrate, being demanded upon his Oath whether a Prieste were in such a place, may (notwithstanding his perfect knowledge to ...
— Notes and Queries, Number 81, May 17, 1851 • Various

... chance," she said. "The equivocation was innocent because it was not premeditated, for if I had thought it over I should never have said ...
— The Memoires of Casanova, Complete • Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

... you. But, be that as it will, the guesses in which you oblige me to employ myself are too painful. It is a sort of sporting with my feelings, which, as a man of resolution, I am determined to bring to an end. I expect you therefore to lay aside all mystery and equivocation, and inform me explicitly what it is upon which your allusions are built. What is it you know? What is it you want? I have been too much exposed already to unparalleled mortification and hardship, and my wounds will not bear ...
— Caleb Williams - Things As They Are • William Godwin

... in a sudden fit of rage and helplessness. He saw how incredible the simple truth would sound; how like a clumsy equivocation it must appear to one who already believed the worst of him. So he took refuge in the last resort alike of badgered innocence and ...
— The Quickening • Francis Lynde

... circumstances might have met this imperative mode of questioning by dogged silence, or an evasive answer, was too uncertain as to what the doctor himself might have repeated to Jeanne-Marie, to attempt equivocation. ...
— My Little Lady • Eleanor Frances Poynter



Words linked to "Equivocation" :   falsification, indirect expression, circumlocution, quibble, evasiveness, quiddity, equivocalness, untruthfulness, evasion, deceit, equivocate, tergiversation, doublespeak, hedge, hedging, cavil, prevarication, deception, misrepresentation, ambiguity



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