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Prevarication   /prəvˌɛrəkˈeɪʃən/   Listen
Prevarication

noun
1.
A statement that deviates from or perverts the truth.  Synonym: lie.
2.
Intentionally vague or ambiguous.  Synonyms: equivocation, evasiveness.
3.
The deliberate act of deviating from the truth.  Synonyms: fabrication, lying.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Prevarication" Quotes from Famous Books



... Queen, The Church of England's glory, Another face of things was seen, And I became a Tory; Occasional Conformists base, I damn'd their moderation, And thought the Church in danger was, By such prevarication. ...
— English Songs and Ballads • Various

... I asked, as I extricated the four-year-old witness from Harriet's chiffon and violets. I doubted if young Susan had attained the years of prevarication ...
— The Heart's Kingdom • Maria Thompson Daviess

... her what I thought of the old auntie, though I could not repress a smile at her frankness, which pleased me more than prevarication would ...
— Bessie's Fortune - A Novel • Mary J. Holmes

... Albinia left them together. She watched anxiously, and hurried after Mr. Kendal into the study, where his manner showed her not to be unwelcome as the sharer of his trouble. 'I do not know what to do,' he said, dejectedly. 'I can make nothing of him. It is all prevarication and sulkiness! I do not think he felt one word that ...
— The Young Step-Mother • Charlotte M. Yonge

... disgusted did Frobisher become at all this delay and prevarication that he went back to the Su-chen, selected some twenty of the strongest members of his crew, and himself took them up to the magazine with a number of hand-wagons which he had collected, under much voluble protest, en route. Then, having found the required pattern of cartridge, ...
— A Chinese Command - A Story of Adventure in Eastern Seas • Harry Collingwood

... seen him this morning," murmured Penelope, thoroughly enjoying the unexpected situation. Her conscience was not troubled by the prevarication. ...
— Master Tales of Mystery, Volume 3 • Collected and Arranged by Francis J. Reynolds

... out. The prevarication had been uttered, and Grace felt as if she had committed a crime and punishment was at hand. Tears of distress came to her eyes; the situation ...
— Nedra • George Barr McCutcheon

... do." This was a prevarication which she instantly repented. "Besides, they didn't ...
— Money Magic - A Novel • Hamlin Garland

... at him, in the utter difficulty of answering. "Basil"—she began, and stopped, not finding another word to add. For prevarication was an accomplishment Diana knew nothing of. She closed her eyes, that they might not see the figure ...
— Diana • Susan Warner

... on without saying a word. I listened—oh! with such a heavy heart, with such a crushing sense of disenchantment and despair! The idol of my worship, the companion, guide, protector of my life—had he fallen so low? could he stoop to such shameless prevarication as this? ...
— The Law and the Lady • Wilkie Collins

... them would involve the quotation of passages so uninteresting to the general reader, that we shall ask him to be content with our assurance that these disgraceful attempts to injure a literary opponent and former friend assume severally the form of direct misstatement, suppression of the truth, prevarication, and cunning perversion; the manner and motive throughout being very shabby.[F] The purpose of all these attacks upon Mr. Dyce is not only to wound and disparage him, but to secure for the writer a reputation for superior sagacity ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Volume 8, No. 47, September, 1861 • Various

... set forth in black and white—if only in my private log for no eye but my own. I shall describe it all fully as a preparation for an official account, which must be drawn up when Elliott gets back. Billy Dawson used to say that there were three degrees of comparison—a prevarication, a lie, and an official account. We at least cannot exaggerate our success, for it would be impossible ...
— The Mystery of Cloomber • Arthur Conan Doyle

... 'Guilty.' Raleigh had, in fact, confessed that Cobham had mentioned the plot to him, though nothing would induce him to admit that he had asked Cobham for a sum of money, or consented to take any active part. Still this was enough; and in the face of his unfortunate prevarication about the interview with Renzi, the jury could hardly act otherwise. For a summing up of both sides of the vexed question what shadow of truth there was in the general accusation, the reader may be recommended to Mr. Gardiner's ...
— Raleigh • Edmund Gosse

... are only responsible in the immediate future for your share of duty, in doing the wisest and best thing which may present itself. And if you can induce Donna Veronica to forgive your brother and your brother's wife, by telling her the truth without prevarication, you will have done something to atone for the past evil which, you cannot undo. I am not preaching to you, my dear friend. Pray look upon me as a man and not as a priest. Indeed, I would rather that you should never think of ...
— Taquisara • F. Marion Crawford

... kind of precaution to defeat the motion; and succeeded—if it can be called success to have quashed the demand, and thereby confirmed the suspicions. After several councils, it was determined, that all the cabinet councillors should severally declare the insufficience and prevarication of Fawcett's evidence: they did, and the motion Was rejected by 122 to 5.(371) If one was prejudiced by classic notions of the wisdom and integrity of a senate, that debate would have cured them. The flattery to Stone was beyond belief: I will give you but one instance. ...
— The Letters of Horace Walpole, Volume 2 • Horace Walpole

... your dead husband. No doubt you speak the truth: there is no telling what sort of person you may have married in what still seems to me unseemly haste to provide me with a successor: but even so, a little charitable prevarication would be far ...
— The Line of Love - Dizain des Mariages • James Branch Cabell

... 'Now, sir, understand, before you speak a word, that I can see through any number of infernal lies. I see that you're prepared for prevarication. By George! it shall come out of you, if I get it by main force. The Duke compelled me to give you that appointment in my Company. Now, sir, did you, or did you not, go to him and deliberately state ...
— The Shaving of Shagpat • George Meredith

... wound the feelings of an adversary. In examining and cross-examining witnesses, he has assumed their veracity, whenever it has been possible to do so; and though he has had the eye of a lynx and the scent of a hound for prevarication in all its forms, yet he has never sought by browbeating and other arts of the pettifogger, to confuse, baffle, and bewilder a witness, or involve him in self-contradiction. Adopting a quiet, gentle, and ...
— The Bay State Monthly, Volume 3, No. 6 • Various

... untruth &c 546; guile; lying &c. v. misrepresentation; mendacity, perjury, false swearing; forgery, invention, fabrication; subreption[obs3]; covin[obs3]. perversion of truth, suppression of truth; suppressio veri[Lat]; perversion, distortion, false coloring; exaggeration &c 549; prevarication, equivocation, shuffling, fencing, evasion, fraud; suggestio falsi &c (lie) 546[Lat]; mystification &c (concealment) 528; simulation &c (imitation) 19; dissimulation, dissembling; deceit; blague[obs3]. sham; pretense, pretending, malingering. ...
— Roget's Thesaurus

... door. He had had too much experience in such matters to attempt any prevarication. The three men crossed the room quickly and Bellamy followed in the rear. He heard a cry of disappointment from the foremost as he opened the door. ...
— Havoc • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... on the group; but when he perceived his man, Roque, whose presence deprived him of the little opportunity left for prevarication, hope forsook him, and the presence of mind which had served him on so many occasions proved utterly insufficient at this critical moment. He foresaw that any attempt at exculpation would be as fruitless as dangerous. He therefore continued ...
— Gomez Arias - The Moors of the Alpujarras, A Spanish Historical Romance. • Joaquin Telesforo de Trueba y Cosio

... knew that the King of France, who had at last perceived his error, would oppose his further aggrandizement. He resolved, in the first place, to form new connections and alliances, and adopted a system of prevarication with France, as plainly appeared when their army was employed in Naples against the Spaniards who had laid siege to Gaeta. His design was to fortify himself against them, and he would certainly have succeeded if Alexander ...
— The Great Events by Famous Historians, Vol. 8 - The Later Renaissance: From Gutenberg To The Reformation • Editor-in-Chief: Rossiter Johnson

... successor to the throne; but she still wished to save appearances: she would, if possible, make the world believe that the decree of Providence alone denied to her a mother's honors. She had the cruel courage to conceal the truth by prevarication. ...
— Berlin and Sans-Souci • Louise Muhlbach

... interpretation of the Articles were able to use language which, whatever might be the error involved in it, could not fail to impress a grave sense of responsibility upon every truthful and honourable man who might be called upon, to give his assent to them. 'The prevarication,' said Waterland, 'of subscribing to forms which men believe not according to the true and proper sense of words, and the known intent of imposers and compilers, and the subtleties invented to defend or palliate such gross insincerity, ...
— The English Church in the Eighteenth Century • Charles J. Abbey and John H. Overton

... doctor—"I hope you will never disguise it to any one, especially to me. Any prevarication, I promise you, will ...
— Amelia (Complete) • Henry Fielding

... was waiting to be answered, I had to collect my thoughts and admit, not without a little bashfulness, that my first account of my exploit had contained a slight prevarication. ...
— The Light of Scarthey • Egerton Castle

... take a trifle to meet the fighting old marshal, even in a world of peace; in short, they are ambulating humbugs, and the would-be respectables that wear 'em are a huge fraternity of "false pretenders." Don't trust 'em, reader; they are sure to do you! there's deceit in their straps, prevarication in their trousers, and connivance in their distended braces. We never met but one exception to the above rule—it was John Smith. Every reader has a friend of the name of John Smith—in confidence, that is the man. We would have sworn by him; in fact, we did swear by him, for ten long years he ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 1, July 24, 1841 • Various

... worth while to live.—Every morning, seventy Paris newspapers and as many local gazettes in the large towns of the provinces expose, with supporting documents, details and figures, not merely their former crimes, but, again, their actual corruption, their sudden opulence founded on prevarication and rapine, their bribes ...
— The Origins of Contemporary France, Volume 4 (of 6) - The French Revolution, Volume 3 (of 3) • Hippolyte A. Taine

... accidents, which, from time to time, had brought the girl and the young borderer in private conversation, enabled him to effect his design with sufficient clearness. Faith heard him without betraying any of her ordinary waywardness, and answered with as little prevarication as the subject ...
— The Wept of Wish-Ton-Wish • James Fenimore Cooper

... we ought to hold firmly and assert, especially we bishops who preside in the Church, that we may prove the episcopate itself to be one and undivided. Let no one deceive the brotherhood by a falsehood; let no one corrupt the truth by a perfidious prevarication. The episcopate is one, each part of which is held by each one in its entirety. The Church, also, is one which is spread abroad far and wide into a multitude by an increase of fruitfulness. As there are many rays of the sun, but one light, ...
— A Source Book for Ancient Church History • Joseph Cullen Ayer, Jr., Ph.D.

... This prevarication, which was equal to a refusal, offended the Bretaks, as it was an infringement of the Sakai custom of sharing like brothers all they possessed. They insisted upon their right and at last obtained a handful of ...
— My Friends the Savages - Notes and Observations of a Perak settler (Malay Peninsula) • Giovanni Battista Cerruti

... Kentucky. They knew a gentleman when they saw him. They felt a touch of awe in his presence. Mr. Biggs claimed to have got his hurt by a fall from his horse, pride leading him to clothe the facts in prevarication. If the truth had been known Samson would have suffered a heavy loss ...
— A Man for the Ages - A Story of the Builders of Democracy • Irving Bacheller

... took place previously to my arrival, nothing has occurred to cause any interruption to the same intercourse as was held last year. The usual supplies are continued, and the places pointed out whence they can be most readily received. There certainly appears great prevarication on the part of the Swedish Government relative to the property landed from the neutral vessels at Carlshamn; and in an object of such importance, I beg to suggest the expediency of one or two persons, duly authorised ...
— Memoirs and Correspondence of Admiral Lord de Saumarez. Vol II • Sir John Ross

... a sort of hotel," said the voice, doubtfully. My hesitation and prevarication had apparently not inspired my interlocutor with confidence ...
— Miss Mehetabel's Son • Thomas Bailey Aldrich

... ubiquitous throughout the range of physical phenomena of spiritism, and false pretence, prevarication and fishing for clues are ubiquitous in the mental manifestations of mediums. If it be not everywhere fraud simulating reality, one is tempted to say, then the reality (if any reality there be) has the bad luck of being fated everywhere ...
— Memories and Studies • William James

... favourite themes for the display of his humour was the subject of prevarication. He seemed never to tire of ringing the changes upon the theme of the lie, its utility, its convenience, and its consequences. Doubtless he chose to dabble in falsehood because it is generally winked at as the most venial of all moral obliquities—a fault which is the most thoroughly universal ...
— Mark Twain • Archibald Henderson

... prevarication and confusion. You've always been an idle dog, Roger, so I think 'a gentleman of no occupation' will be a sufficiently correct description. You are very well connected ...
— The Man From the Clouds • J. Storer Clouston

... young, who drove Through clouds of dust at postal pace, By the decree of Mighty Jove, Inheritor of all his race. Friends of Liudmila and Ruslan,(1) Let me present ye to the man, Who without more prevarication The hero is of my narration! Oneguine, O my gentle readers, Was born beside the Neva, where It may be ye were born, or there Have shone as one of fashion's leaders. I also wandered there of old, But cannot stand the ...
— Eugene Oneguine [Onegin] - A Romance of Russian Life in Verse • Aleksandr Sergeevich Pushkin

... is another, much more subtle form of prevarication. Smith meets you in the street and remarks upon your flabby appearance. He argues that you ought to weigh twenty-five pounds less than you do, and that a long daily walk will do the trick. "Look at me," he says, "I walk ten miles every day and there isn't an ounce of superfluous ...
— The Patient Observer - And His Friends • Simeon Strunsky

... Pharisee of the Pharisees. Lying indeed! Why, you hate prevarication. As for murder, your friends know you too well to mention the subject in your hearing, except in immediate connection with capital punishment. You are, of course, willing to make some allowance for Cellini's ...
— Obiter Dicta • Augustine Birrell

... the prevarication. St. Michael was not Peter Masters, even excuses found no easy ...
— Christopher Hibbault, Roadmaker • Marguerite Bryant

... indeed fortunate, for he comes to us several times each summer and is one of the family, Lady Morley accompanying him. He is as fond of the yacht as I am myself, and, fortunately again, it is the best medicine for both of us. Morley is, and must always remain, "Honest John." No prevarication with him, no nonsense, firm as a rock upon all questions and in all emergencies; yet always looking around, fore and aft, right and left, with a big heart not often revealed in all its tenderness, but at rare intervals and upon fit occasion leaving no doubt of its presence ...
— Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie • Andrew Carnegie

... business was transacted mostly through fairs and ships, and by pedlers. Your merchant of that time was a peripatetic rogue who reduced prevarication to a system. ...
— Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great, Volume 9 - Subtitle: Little Journeys to the Homes of Great Reformers • Elbert Hubbard

... that he looked me straight in the eye. It takes practice to lie convincingly. And the Space Academy doesn't list the Art of Prevarication among ...
— Attrition • Jim Wannamaker

... to the trenches on the way out and in, none of the houses that line the way are to be visited. It was a case for a slight prevarication. My water jar was out in the trench: I carried my rifle and ...
— The Red Horizon • Patrick MacGill

... say, to the morality of it. To break a solemn promise is a kind of prevarication; that is certain, there is no coming off of it; and I might enlarge here upon the first fault, namely, of making the promise, which, say the strict objectors, they should not do. But the tradesman's ...
— The Complete English Tradesman (1839 ed.) • Daniel Defoe

... by the live chicken. You see, a Chinaman will always tell the truth when he has to cut a live chicken's head off over it. If he happens to be guilty of anything and says he isn't and cuts the fowl's koko off,—he is sure to die for his prevarication. We all die, anyway, of course," commented Jim, "but not so suddenly, evidently. Then, if John is accused by someone of doing something he didn't do and he pleads innocent and cuts the infernal bird's headpiece ...
— The Spoilers of the Valley • Robert Watson

... could not meet with him; for that a messenger from the parliament of Mirlingois, in Mirlingues, was come to him with a writ of summons to cite and warn him personally to appear before the reverend senators of the high court there, to vindicate and justify himself at the bar of the crime of prevarication laid to his charge, and to be peremptorily instanced against him in a certain decree, judgment, or sentence lately awarded, given, and pronounced by him; and that, therefore, he had taken horse and departed ...
— Gargantua and Pantagruel, Complete. • Francois Rabelais

... of her. Noor ad Deen, since his father's death, having wasted his whole fortune in riot and feasting, has nothing left but this slave, whom he at last resolved to part with; and she was to be sold in his name, I sent for him; and, without mentioning any thing of his father's prevarication, or rather treachery to your majesty, I in the civilest manner said to him, 'Noor ad Deen, the merchants, I perceive, have put your slave up at four thousand pieces of gold; and I question not, but, in emulation ...
— The Arabian Nights Entertainments Complete • Anonymous

... care from her earliest infancy. She had left her gentle, candid, and affectionate; a loving, engaging, little creature, and how did she find her now? Her fair bright face disfigured, her caresses affected, her mind turned to deceit and prevarication! Well might Eleanor feel it more than ever painful to leave her own little Henry to the care of others; and well it was for her that she had learned to find comfort in the consciousness that her ...
— Scenes and Characters • Charlotte M. Yonge

... they sin like men. (I have heard it said that a man should sin like a gentleman; but I am much disposed to think that the gentleman nature appears in the non-sinning lucid intervals.)] When I speak of sin I will be understood to mean the venial offences of prevarication and sleeping in church. I am not thinking of sheep-stealing or highway robbery. My clever friend's work consists chiefly in reducing files of correspondence on a particular subject to one or two leading thoughts. Upon these he casts the colour of his own opinions, and submits the ...
— Twenty-One Days in India; and, the Teapot Series • George Robert Aberigh-Mackay

... not a moment to trifle. Tell me, without prevarication,—were you, or were you not in the Park, walking with a gentleman, on the morning you left for Mrs. Brahan's? Answer ...
— Ernest Linwood - or, The Inner Life of the Author • Caroline Lee Hentz

... Tom, who seemed to be justifying Richard's fears of the consequence of exciting his father's anger. At home, he shrank and hesitated at the simplest question if put by his father suddenly; and the appearance of cowardice and prevarication displeasing Dr. May further, rendered his tone louder, and frightened Tom the more, giving his manner an air of sullen reserve that was most unpleasant. At school it was much the same—he kept aloof from Norman, and threw ...
— The Daisy Chain, or Aspirations • Charlotte Yonge

... released to his guardian, and Stemmermann offered the prognosis that Johann might well develop into a typical pathological swindler. He came of a family of five brothers and sisters, one of whom was incarcerated for a year on account of stealing. One sister was noted for her tendency to prevarication. Several of them were remarkably unstable, at least early in life. All of them are said to have learned very unwillingly in school. One brother of the father was ...
— Pathology of Lying, Etc. • William and Mary Healy

... and she sat silent. How could she accuse her own father of prevarication? But the crisis was a ...
— Sunrise • William Black

... Lieutenancy show. The presence of honest and friendly Carew as one of the royal commissioners, renders the account as it stands all but incredible. He certainly would not have been a party to a lying and wicked prevarication. Cecil would not, nor Sir Julius Caesar. But it is one of the many Ralegh myths, with a possible particle of truth in it, which cannot be sifted out of the mass ...
— Sir Walter Ralegh - A Biography • William Stebbing

... his sake who wrote it; because she thought so well of him, and desired still to think so well, that she was sorry at any faults which rendered him less worthy of her good opinion. The cold civility of his letter had this effect—her clear, her acute judgment felt it a kind of prevarication to promise to write and then write nothing that was hoped for. But, enthralled by the magic of her passion, she shortly found excuses for the man she loved, at the expense of ...
— Nature and Art • Mrs. Inchbald

... certain that General Clavering ever was at any of her parties; she replied, 'So certain, that I always told him he need not use any ceremony, but come in his boots.' It will be remembered that General C. was sent to Newgate for prevarication on that account, not having recollected ...
— Old and New London - Volume I • Walter Thornbury

... with prevarication—when necessary; and never part with the whole truth at one time, since waste is sinful," was one of the maxims by which the Chancellor guided his own actions, though he did not give it away for the benefit of others; and ...
— The Princess Virginia • C. N. Williamson

... girls,' said their papa, though not in an unkindly tone, as they entered the dining-room. 'I want to ask you a few questions. Mind, I must have truthful and straightforward answers—no prevarication.' ...
— Aunt Mary • Mrs. Perring

... and three hundred Frenchmen on a sacred mission to the British sovereign, this redoubtable mariner of England prepared to do battle with the ships of France. It was with much difficulty and some prevarication that Rosny appeased the strife, representing that the French flag had only been raised in order that it might be dipped, in honour of the French ambassador, as the ships passed each other. The full-shotted broadside was fired from fifty ...
— The Rise of the Dutch Republic, 1555-1566 • John Lothrop Motley

... merely smirked mirthlessly; he saw no reason for being joyful over the lie he had told. He was getting deeper and deeper into the mire of deceit and prevarication, and there seemed to ...
— Square Deal Sanderson • Charles Alden Seltzer

... same rash at the roots of his still curly hair. It was the second rash, together with Henry's emphatic and positive statement that he was perfectly well, which had finally urged his relatives to a desperate step—a step involving intrigue and prevarication. And to justify this step had come the crowning symptom of peevishness—peevishness in ...
— A Great Man - A Frolic • Arnold Bennett

... who is from home all day, the lady receiving visitors or working slippers in her nicely-furnished parlor, cannot be quite so sure that their demands, or the duties involved in them, are clearly understood, nor estimate the temptations to prevarication. ...
— Woman in the Ninteenth Century - and Kindred Papers Relating to the Sphere, Condition - and Duties, of Woman. • Margaret Fuller Ossoli

... external manifestation of contempt even in your expressive countenance, you will certainly be unable to preserve kindness and respect of manner towards those whose errors and failings are not met by internal self-control. You will be contemptuously heedless of the assertions of those whose prevarication you have even once experienced; those who have once taunted you with obligation will never be again allowed to confer a favour upon you; you will avoid all future intercourse with those whose unkind and taunting words have wounded ...
— The Young Lady's Mentor - A Guide to the Formation of Character. In a Series of Letters to Her Unknown Friends • A Lady

... that is very irritating and very hard to meet is that known as prevarication. This consists in telling a part of a truth, or even a whole truth, in such a way as to convey a false impression, and is most common at about twelve or thirteen years. When a child resorts to prevarication he is already ...
— Your Child: Today and Tomorrow • Sidonie Matzner Gruenberg

... night for thinking about our circumstances. I saw that the Parliament was less inclined than ever to engage in a war, by reason of the desertion of the army of M. de Turenne; I saw the deputies at Ruel emboldened by the success of their prevarication; I saw the people of Paris as ready to admit the Archduke as ever they could be to receive the Duc d'Orleans; I saw that in a week's time this Prince, with beads in his hand, and Fuensaldagne with his money, would have greater power than ...
— Marguerite de Navarre - Memoirs of Marguerite de Valois Queen of Navarre • Marguerite de Navarre

... might easily have happened in such a case. He was in as high rank as Colonel Hannay; for Colonel Hannay at that time was only a major. I do not believe either of them was properly entitled to the name of Colonel Saib. I am ashamed, my Lords, to be obliged to remark upon this prevarication. Their own endeavors to get rid of their own written acts by contradictory evidence and false constructions sufficiently clear these women of the crimes of which they were accused; and I may now ask the prisoner at ...
— The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. XII. (of XII.) • Edmund Burke



Words linked to "Prevarication" :   walloper, evasiveness, whopper, ambiguity, jactitation, falsity, taradiddle, fib, fibbing, equivocalness, paltering, fabrication, story, falsification, falsehood, untruthfulness, prevaricate, white lie, untruth, tarradiddle, misrepresentation, tale, lie



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