Word of the Day : October 15, 2018
tergiversation \ter-jiv-er-SAY-shun\ noun
1 : evasion of straightforward action or clear-cut statement : equivocation
2 : desertion of a cause, position, party, or faith
Did You Know?
The roots of tergiversation are about an unwillingness to pick a course and stay on it. The Latin verb tergiversari means "to show reluctance," and it comes from the combining of tergum, meaning "back," and versare, meaning "to turn." (While versare and its related form, vertere, turn up in the etymologies of many English words, including versatile and invert, tergum is at the root of only a few, among them tergal, an obscure synonym of dorsal.) While the "desertion" meaning of tergiversation is both older and a better reflection of the meanings of its etyma, the word is more frequently used as a synonym of equivocation. The related verb tergiversate is a somewhat rare synonym of equivocate.
Aired October 15, 2018
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