Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.
August 28th, 2015
Episode 302 of 797 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for August 28, 2015 is: prevaricate \prih-VAIR-uh-kayt\ verb : to deviate from the truth : equivocate Examples: In Henry Fielding's novel Tom Jones, Squire Allworthy demands of Mr. Dowling, "Do not hesitate nor prevaricate; but answer faithfully and truly to every question I ask." "Some do a good job informing voters of issues while others exaggerate, obfuscate and prevaricate." Bill Bauer, The Santa Monica (California) Daily Press, 3 Nov. 2014 Did you know? Prevaricate and its synonyms lie and equivocate all refer to playing fast and loose with the truth. Lie is the bluntest of the three. When you accuse someone of lying, you are saying he or she was intentionally dishonest, no bones about it. Prevaricate is less accusatory and softens the bluntness of lie, usually implying that someone is evading the truth rather than purposely making false statements. Equivocate is similar to prevaricate, but it generally implies that someone is deliberately using words that have more than one meaning as a way to conceal the truth.