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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



... imperfect English, but in a way that was easy to be understood. Hutter was too stern and obdurate by nature to shrink from the consequences of any of his acts, and he was also too familiar with the opinions of the savages not to understand that nothing was to be gained by equivocation or an unmanly dread of their anger. Without hesitating, therefore, he avowed the purpose with which he had landed, merely justifying it by the fact that the government of the province had bid high for scalps. This frank avowal was received by the Iroquois with evident satisfaction, not ...
— The Deerslayer • James Fenimore Cooper

... destitute of a show of reason. It was impossible to deny that Roman Catholic casuists of great eminence had written in defence of equivocation, of mental reservation, of perjury, and even of assassination. Nor, it was said, had the speculations of this odious school of sophists been barren of results. The massacre of Saint Bartholomew, the murder of the ...
— The History of England from the Accession of James II. - Volume 2 (of 5) • Thomas Babington Macaulay

... existence consists only in being perceived; whereas a soul or spirit is an active being, whose existence consists, not in being perceived, but in perceiving ideas and thinking. It is therefore necessary, in order to prevent equivocation and confounding natures perfectly disagreeing and unlike, that we distinguish between spirit and idea. See ...
— A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge • George Berkeley

... 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

... had 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 I will save ...
— Sybil - or the Two Nations • Benjamin Disraeli

... 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; ...
— Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases: Body • Roget

... universal. The language was corrupted. The 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 Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (The Physician and Poet not the Jurist)

... mother!" said Margery, descending to equivocation, and blushing more than ever; "I heard you not open my door, and your voice ...
— Mistress Margery • Emily Sarah Holt

... said, had the disadvantage of riding an ebb tide. But Lincoln encountered a disadvantage in riding a flood tide, which was flowing too fast for a man so conservative and so honest as he was. Thus there was not a little equivocation on both sides foreign to the nature of the two. Both wanted to be frank. Both thought they were being frank. But each was a little afraid of his own logic; each was a little afraid of his own following; and hence there was considerable ...
— America First - Patriotic Readings • Various

... 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 ...
— Middlemarch • George Eliot

... God 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 ...
— My Life: or the Adventures of Geo. Thompson - Being the Auto-Biography of an Author. Written by Himself. • George Thompson

... The whole truth and nothing but the truth!" Her hand rested fondly on his; no word of equivocation was possible under that mode of putting her lover to the question. "Tell me why you ...
— The Golden Dog - Le Chien d'Or • William Kirby

... and Borrow was wrong. There is no room for equivocation. Borrow should have sunk his pride in favour of his friendship for Ford, who had, even if occasionally a little tedious in his epistolary enthusiasm, always been a loyal friend; but Borrow was ill and excuses must be made for him. Lockhart ...
— The Life of George Borrow • Herbert Jenkins

... 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 ...
— Raleigh • Edmund Gosse

... head is not the flesh of your body. No, I will not injure the hair!"—Pomp waited for his prisoner to take in all the horrible suggestiveness of this equivocation; then resumed. "Is not that what you would have said to me if you had found me in your power after making me such a promise? The black man has no rights which the white man is bound to respect! The most solemn pledges made by one of your ...
— Cudjo's Cave • J. T. Trowbridge

... increased responsiveness 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 principal offices ...
— The Governments of Europe • Frederic Austin Ogg

... not one a right to conceal facts which another has no right to know?* In such a case, concealment is undoubtedly a right; but falsehood, or equivocation, or truth which will convey a false impression, is not a right. This question has not unfrequently arisen with regard to anonymous publications. It might be a fair subject of inquiry, whether anonymous writing is not in all cases objectionable, on the ground that a sense of personal ...
— A Manual of Moral Philosophy • Andrew Preston Peabody

... of a missionary. We 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 ...
— Correspondence & Conversations of Alexis de Tocqueville with Nassau William Senior from 1834 to 1859, Vol. 2 • Alexis de Tocqueville

... should be sacred. The contradictory promptings, not always crooked; the double constructions possible to men's actions; the intermingling of ambition and patriotism beneath the lash of party spirit; often wrong unconscious of itself; sometimes equivocation deceiving itself—in short, the tangled web of good and ill inseparable from great affairs of loss and gain made debatable ground for every step ...
— Marse Henry, Complete - An Autobiography • Henry Watterson

... however, peace had been concluded, and the loyalists, amazed and heartbroken at their threatened desertion, reminded him of his pledges and implored him to respect them, he answered them in a letter which is surely without parallel in the record of self-respecting Governments. The wriggling, the equivocation, the distortion of phrases, the shameless 'explaining away,' are of a character that would again justify the remark of Lord Salisbury (then Lord Robert Cecil) in another matter many years before, that they were 'tactics worthy of a pettifogging attorney,' and even the subsequent ...
— The Transvaal from Within - A Private Record of Public Affairs • J. P. Fitzpatrick

... 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 ...
— Infelice • Augusta Jane Evans Wilson

... 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 ...
— Alexander Pope - English Men of Letters Series • Leslie Stephen

... 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, ...
— The Young Step-Mother • Charlotte M. Yonge

... know whether Hepsie could be had, but he meant to have her if she was not already at work somewhere else. He listened to the directions and promised without equivocation that Hepsie would come. He understood that for some reason the thing Elizabeth asked of him she could ask of him alone, but was careful to couch his replies so that that fact was ...
— The Wind Before the Dawn • Dell H. Munger

... so carefully trained, and so early taught the difference between right and wrong, that she could not look upon her prize without being reminded of the temptation to which she had so suddenly yielded, and the equivocation to which she had resorted in ...
— Ruth Arnold - or, the Country Cousin • Lucy Byerley

... Ollivier scores the king's order to the credit of Benedetti's diplomacy, since it amounted to an admission that the question in debate was much more than a mere family concern. And he adds that he immediately urged Gramont to allow no more equivocation upon this essential point, but to press Werther for a straightforward reply upon it. It will be seen that this pressure was carried rather too far at the French Foreign Office, with an important effect ...
— Studies in Literature and History • Sir Alfred Comyn Lyall

... yet. I 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 ...
— The Works of Edgar Allan Poe - Volume 4 (of 5) of the Raven Edition • Edgar Allan Poe

... words was gently disarming. There was no equivocation. It was impossible for the boy to misread what he said. The capitulation had not waited for the passionate challenge Marcel had ...
— The Heart of Unaga • Ridgwell Cullum

... so. Certain it is, that when the danger was past and the quietude of the country was restored, Leofric, on applying for the restitution of these "holy relics," found some difficulty in obtaining them; for the Abbot of Ely attempted by equivocation and duplicity to retain them. After several ineffectual applications, Leofric was compelled, for the honor of his monastery, to declare the "pious fraud" he had practised; which he proved by the testimony of several monks of his fraternity, who were ...
— Bibliomania in the Middle Ages • Frederick Somner Merryweather

... campaign progressed, it became evident that Clay would be elected. Then occurred some of those fatalities which have more than once, in the history of Presidential campaigns, overturned the most reasonable expectations and defeated the popular will. Mr. Clay committed a blunder and Mr. Polk an equivocation—to use the mildest possible term. Mr. Clay was induced by Southern friends to write a letter—[Published in the North Alabamian, Aug. 16, 1844.]—in which, after stating that "far from having any personal objection to the annexation ...
— The Great Conspiracy, Complete • John Alexander Logan

... his pony, buying his cattle by the thousand; his calm and composed demeanour was a striking contrast to the noise made by some jobbers at our fairs in even the buying of an old cow. Although plain in manner, he was a thorough gentleman, devoid of slang and equivocation. He was the Captain Barclay of Dumfriesshire, and furnished an exception to my friend's remark, for he died in independent circumstances. He paid for all ...
— Cattle and Cattle-breeders • William M'Combie

... of terms than of sentiments; and thus seemed satisfied, when they engaged the contending parties to use the same words and phrases, though their real difference in opinion remained the same. This could not be justified: it tended evidently to extinguish truth and honour, and to introduce equivocation. ...
— The Life of Hugo Grotius • Charles Butler

... in love. I have been in love for three weeks. It is not necessary to say with whom, since I and myself both know, but in order that the crimes of evasion and equivocation may no longer be charged against me, I frankly record that I am in love with ...
— John Henry Smith - A Humorous Romance of Outdoor Life • Frederick Upham Adams

... things the nervous child must grow up to respect; one 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 ...
— The Mother and Her Child • William S. Sadler

... we admit that lying is a vice, and that Pope was in a small way one of the most consummate liars that ever lived. He speaks himself of 'equivocating pretty genteelly' in regard to one of his peccadilloes. Pope's equivocation is to the equivocation of ordinary men what a tropical fern is to the stunted representatives of the same species in England. It grows until the fowls of the air can rest on its branches. His mendacity in short amounts to a monomania. That a man with intensely irritable nerves, and so fragile in ...
— Hours in a Library, Volume I. (of III.) • Leslie Stephen

... 19th and 20th of January, 1771, musketeers knocked at the doors of all the magistrates; they were awakened in the king's name, at the same time being ordered to say whether they would consent to resume their service. No equivocation possible! No margin for those developments of their ideas which are so dear to parliamentary minds! It was a matter of signing yes or no. Surprised in their slumbers, but still firm in their resolution of resistance, the majority of the ...
— A Popular History of France From The Earliest Times - Volume VI. of VI. • Francois Pierre Guillaume Guizot

... the field so hard to handle, with the exception of Ben Kyley, whose showing against a professional of Bendigo's calibre set him on a plane above the mere amateur. Pete confessed himself beaten without equivocation. ...
— In the Roaring Fifties • Edward Dyson

... by this speech; to have it known that Delvile had visited her, was in itself alarming, but to have her own equivocation thus glaringly exposed, was infinitely more dangerous. The just suspicions to which it must give rise filled her with dread, and the palpable evasion in which she had been ...
— Cecilia vol. 2 - Memoirs of an Heiress • Frances (Fanny) Burney (Madame d'Arblay)

... 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 ...
— The Three Brides • Charlotte M. Yonge

... did not advance the negotiations when resumed. High and harsh words were interchanged between his Highness and the commissioners, Anjou complaining, as usual, of affronts and indignities, but when pushed home for particulars, taking refuge in equivocation. "He did not wish," he said, "to re-open wounds which had been partially healed." He also affected benignity, and wishing to forgive and to forget, he offered some articles as the basis of a fresh agreement. Of these it is sufficient to state that they were entirely different from the terms ...
— The Rise of the Dutch Republic, 1555-1566 • John Lothrop Motley

... leading idea of the play, and sufficiently absorbed in its progress, at the end of the second act, to permit Lady Dolly to capture him before it occurred to him that he had the use of his legs. Her enthusiasm was so great that it reduced him to something like equivocation. She wanted to know if anything could be more splendid than Mr. Bradley as Lord Ingleton; she confided to Stephen that that was what she called real wickedness, the kind that did the most harm, and invited him, by inference, to a liberal judgment ...
— Hilda - A Story of Calcutta • Sara Jeannette Duncan

... answer me one question without equivocation—do you love that man?" He must ask that, know that; ...
— Beth Norvell - A Romance of the West • Randall Parrish

... little man's 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

... the source of its principle, and the correct determination of it in opposition to the maxims which are based on wants and inclinations, so that it may escape from the perplexity of opposite claims, and not run the risk of losing all genuine moral principles through the equivocation into which it easily falls. Thus, when practical reason cultivates itself, there insensibly arises in it a dialectic which forces it to seek aid in philosophy, just as happens to it in its theoretic use; and in this case, therefore, as well as ...
— Literary and Philosophical Essays • Various

... oppressed him with the poignancy of an immediate ordeal was the need of saying good-bye to Dorothy, and neither of them would fail to understand that it might be a last good-bye. There was no room for equivocation in this crisis, and as he gazed up into the full and peaceful shade over his head, a flood of little memories, bound tendril-like by sounds, sights, and fragrances to his heart, swept him ...
— The Roof Tree • Charles Neville Buck

... type possess of course the merit of simplicity, transparency, and finality. The decrees, the punishments and rewards are given with some clearness and are easily understood; there is no appeal and little equivocation. They served a useful purpose in the earlier ages of civilisation, but cannot solve the problem for the complex civilisation and advanced culture of the present age. They place God too far from man, and attribute to man powers which he cannot of himself possess. ...
— Rudolph Eucken • Abel J. Jones

... "Equivocation will be alike unavailing," repeated Lucrezia. "And if you ask what you have done—you have dared to step with your ill-placed passion between my lord and the Lady Adelaide: you have brought discredit upon the long-upheld ...
— The International Monthly Magazine - Volume V - No II • Various

... freely and without coercion acknowledge, I hereby promise and agree to pay to Janet Orme Jones on the day that I attain my majority the sum of Fifty Thousand Dollars, which sum is to be paid from my estate without recourse, equivocation or attempt to repudiate the said obligation, inasmuch as I willingly admit the said sum to be justly due the said Janet ...
— Mary Louise Solves a Mystery • L. Frank Baum

... recommends in his chapter of back-stairs. Caesar himself disavowed his Ministers, and declared he had not been for the repeal, and that his servants had used his name without his permission. A paper was produced to his eyes, which proved this denial an equivocation. The Ministers, instead of tossing their places into the middle of the closet, as I should have done, had the courage and virtue to stand firm, and save both ...
— Letters of Horace Walpole - Volume II • Horace Walpole

... but, nevertheless, I shall prove, by quotations, that the whole theory of our author is based upon this paltry equivocation. ...
— What is Property? - An Inquiry into the Principle of Right and of Government • P. J. Proudhon

... plain and literal sense of the words. "I am henceforth," he said, "in doubt and fear, as much as an honest man can be, concerning every word Dr. Newman may write. How can I tell, that I shall not be the dupe of some cunning equivocation, of one of the three kinds laid down as permissible by the blessed St. Alfonso da Liguori and his pupils, even when confirmed with an oath, because 'then we do not deceive our neighbour, but allow him to deceive himself?' ... How ...
— Apologia Pro Vita Sua • John Henry Cardinal Newman

... Everton rather exceeded the truth. His equivocation was not manly, and Ayres was deceived by it into the inference of a reason for his dismissal ...
— Words for the Wise • T. S. Arthur

... she have forced Maria into the most innocent equivocation, and she rattled on about her wonderful summer as people are expected to do after their ...
— The Sisters-In-Law • Gertrude Atherton

... place or places in which he may be, while upon his parole, that shall now, or may hereafter give information to our enemies which can be injurious to us, or the common cause of America; but that without equivocation, mental evasion, or secret reservation, he pay the most exact and faithful attention to the intent and meaning of these conditions, according to the rules and regulations of war; and that he every day appear between the hours of ten and twelve o'clock to the Officer ...
— An Historical Account of the Settlements of Scotch Highlanders in America • J. P. MacLean

... 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. I cannot ...
— When Ghost Meets Ghost • William Frend De Morgan

... Essex, in the year 1738, that three horses (and no more than three) started for a L10 plate, and they were all three distanced the first heat, according to the common rules in horse-racing, without any quibble or equivocation; and the following was the solution:—The first horse ran on the inside of the post; the second wanted weight; and the third fell and ...
— The Gaming Table: Its Votaries and Victims - Volume II (of II) • Andrew Steinmetz

... active, trustworthy, and trusted,—yet with the constant temptation of unemployed time and energies demanding supply of action. Little by little these are supplied,—supplied by the billiard-table and its concomitants. It is the same story,—first, rumors, then equivocation, then exposure. Perhaps a petty sum is all; but, to the austere justice of banking, this is as bad, nay, worse than millions. And then a brief paragraph in the newspaper, and one more ruined young man, sulking beside the family-hearthstone, ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 5, No. 27, January, 1860 • Various

... and by the mere force of punning upon that long magical word, threw himself into a fine breathing sweat, and a quiet sleep. He is now in a fair way of recovery, and says pleasantly, he is less obliged to the Jesuits for their powder, than for their equivocation." ...
— History of English Humour, Vol. 2 (of 2) • Alfred Guy Kingan L'Estrange

... is the 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 ...
— The Sense of Beauty - Being the Outlines of Aesthetic Theory • George Santayana

... new to say. Professor Hales's defence of the passage on fuller grounds, in the admirable paper reprinted in his Notes and Essays on Shakespeare, seems to me quite conclusive. I may add two notes. (1) The references in the Porter's speeches to 'equivocation,' which have naturally, and probably rightly, been taken as allusions to the Jesuit Garnet's appeal to the doctrine of equivocation in defence of his perjury when, on trial for participation in the Gunpowder Plot, do not stand alone in Macbeth. The later prophecies of the Witches ...
— Shakespearean Tragedy - Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth • A. C. Bradley

... disproportionate vehemence and great solemnity. He points in the context to the faithfulness of God, to the firm Gospel which he had preached, to God's great 'Yea!' as his answer. He says in effect, 'How could I, with such a word burning in my heart, move in a region of equivocation and double-dealing; or how could I, whose whole being is saturated with so firm and stable a Gospel, be unreliable and fickle? The message must make the messenger like itself. Communion with a faithful God must make faith-keeping men; the certainties ...
— Expositions of Holy Scripture: Romans Corinthians (To II Corinthians, Chap. V) • Alexander Maclaren

... 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

... morality have been so boldly attacked, it seems necessary, in announcing a work of this nature, to be particularly explicit as to the path which the editor means to pursue. He, therefore, avows himself to be, without equivocation or reserve, the ardent friend and the willing champion of the Christian religion. Christian piety he reveres as the highest excellence of human beings, and the amplest reward he can seek for his labour is the consciousness of having, in ...
— The Philadelphia Magazines and their Contributors 1741-1850 • Albert Smyth

... 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 ...
— Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher • S. T. Coleridge

... bell in person, and was ordered by the chief constable to take a seat and tell everything he knew about the previous night's events, without equivocation or reserve. He took a chair at the table, his bright bird's glance wandering from one to the other of the faces opposite him as he smoothed with one claw-like hand the thatch of iron-grey hair which hung down over his forehead almost ...
— The Shrieking Pit • Arthur J. Rees

... Gomez Arias, who appeared one of the most scrupulous in the observance of its tenets; he could not brook a word, a glance, a smile which might seem derogatory to the essence of its established maxims. Again, his word was sacred and inviolable. The least equivocation in his promise to man might sully him with an indelible stain; but then he would calmly and deliberately, without transgressing his honor, employ all his guile to deceive a weak and unprotected female. Honor would ...
— Gomez Arias - The Moors of the Alpujarras, A Spanish Historical Romance. • Joaquin Telesforo de Trueba y Cosio

... 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

... unheralded, there broke on this quiet life of intellectual devotion the great storm of 1914. The guns that roared along the Marne shattered all his purposes, and left him face to face with a solemn spiritual exigency which admitted no equivocation. ...
— Carry On • Coningsby Dawson

... the remarkable phenomenon remains in evidence of the truth of the narrative. The miracle, however, remains precisely as it was. There is sufficient to appeal to, as an existing and perpetual memorial to all generations. The MIRACLE, from which there can be no appeal, and which allows of no equivocation, consisted in its ample abundance, in its continued supply, and its complete intermission on the sacred day of rest. Nutritious substances have fallen from the atmosphere in some countries; such, for example, was that which fell a few years ago in Persia, and was examined by ...
— The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction - Vol. XIX. No. 554, Saturday, June 30, 1832 • Various

... I did know; and she knew that I knew it. To my shame be it said that I was weak enough to yield to an equivocation which I now see to have been disloyal, but which I then pretended to have been no more than delicacy to Ottilie. As, in point of fact, there had never been a word passed between us respecting our mutual feelings, I considered myself bound ...
— The Lock and Key Library • Julian Hawthorne, Ed.

... not of 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 abstention. I ...
— Penguin Island • Anatole France

... 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 short, ...
— What Will He Do With It, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... 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 ...
— Jean-Christophe, Vol. I • Romain Rolland

... 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 ...
— Memorials and Other Papers • Thomas de Quincey

... 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 wants for which her acquired ...
— The Custom of the Country • Edith Wharton

... 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 unwholesome folly among their disciples. The whole of a certain ...
— Renaissance Fancies and Studies - Being a Sequel to Euphorion • Violet Paget (AKA Vernon Lee)

... ceremony as has been observed at the obsequies of many a queen. There were anthems and prayers and a sermon; and Dr. Parker, who officiated, remarked, when all was over, to a few particular friends, and with some equivocation, as it seems to me, that he 'buried her very willingly, and with ...
— Essays from 'The Guardian' • Walter Horatio Pater

... If thou 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 ...
— The Works of Samuel Johnson in Nine Volumes - Volume V: Miscellaneous Pieces • Samuel Johnson

... if we may trust Herodotus, was careful to avoid debt. He had a keen sense of the difficulty with which a debtor escapes subterfuge and equivocation—forms, slightly disguised, of lying. To buy and sell wares in a market place, to chaffer and haggle over prices, was distasteful to him, as apt to involve falsity and unfairness. He was free and ...
— The Seven Great Monarchies Of The Ancient Eastern World, Vol 5. (of 7): Persia • George Rawlinson

... indulge their hopes of supreme excellence, than when he seems fully resolved to sink them in dejection, and mollify them with tender emotions by the fall of greatness, the danger of innocence, or the crosses of love. He is not long soft and pathetick without some idle conceit, or contemptible equivocation. He no sooner begins to move, than he counteracts himself; and terrour and pity, as they are rising in the mind, are checked and blasted by ...
— Prefaces and Prologues to Famous Books - with Introductions, Notes and Illustrations • Charles W. Eliot

... 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 ...
— The Parables of Our Lord • William Arnot

... "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 ...
— Verner's Pride • Mrs. Henry Wood

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

... Wade was not the man to accept the word of a Jesuit, unless it should be the word "Guilty." He accused Garnet of wholesale violation of the Decalogue in the plainest English, and coolly told him that he could not believe him on his oath, since the Pope could absolve him for any extent of lying or equivocation. It was plainly no easy matter to beguile ...
— It Might Have Been - The Story of the Gunpowder Plot • Emily Sarah Holt

... not in the secret were attributing it 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 writes on 1 ...
— The Age of Erasmus - Lectures Delivered in the Universities of Oxford and London • P. S. Allen

... "No commonplaces, Quarin, no equivocation," cried Joseph, impatiently. "I must have the truth, do you hear me?—the truth. I cannot afford to be surprised by death, for I must provide for a nation, and my house must be set in order. I am not afraid of death, my friend; it comes to me in the smiling guise of a liberator. Therefore be ...
— Joseph II. and His Court • L. Muhlbach

... stain, shadow, or resemblance of the same may become legible or intelligible to 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 true performance ...
— The Mysteries of Free Masonry - Containing All the Degrees of the Order Conferred in a Master's Lodge • William Morgan

... /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. In these works he rejected the ...
— History of the Catholic Church from the Renaissance to the French • Rev. James MacCaffrey

... 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, I ...
— Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded • Samuel Richardson

... her most serious and heartfelt felicities, was the reflection that all necessity of concealment from Mr. Knightley would soon be over. The disguise, equivocation, mystery, so hateful to her to practise, might soon be over. She could now look forward to giving him that full and perfect confidence which her disposition was most ready ...
— Persuasion • Jane Austen

... putting in (as one may say) a good word for herself, said she knew Julia; as well she might, being herself the Julia of whom she spoke; telling how fondly Julia loved her master, Proteus, and how his unkind neglect would grieve her. And then she with a pretty equivocation went on: "Julia is about my height, and of my complexion, the color of her eyes and hair the same as mine." And indeed Julia looked a most beautiful youth in her ...
— Tales from Shakespeare • Charles and Mary Lamb

... interview with his 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 too ...
— Kindred of the Dust • Peter B. Kyne

... that sum, and that the half of it is more than my mother knows I am mistress of. You are afraid that my mother will question me on this subject; and then you think I must own the truth. But little as I love equivocation, and little as you would allow of it in your Anna Howe, it is hard if I cannot (were I to be put to it ever so closely) find something to say that would bring me off, as you have, what can you do ...
— Clarissa, Volume 3 (of 9) • Samuel Richardson

... youth. He was regarded as a sharp, hard-working young man, with a keen eye for business, and honourable and just, but conspicuously hard to deal with—one whose word was as his bond, and who, being so absolutely reliable himself, suffered no equivocation or crooked dealings in others. By slow but certain degrees he had extricated himself from the strange network which old Abel Graham had woven about the business, and established it upon the basis of sound, straightforward dealing. The ...
— The Guinea Stamp - A Tale of Modern Glasgow • Annie S. Swan

... laughter of their guests, and gain credit by their sayings, make use of great facetiousness in their conversation; at one time uttering their jokes in a light, easy manner, at another time, under the disguise of equivocation, passing the severest censures. For the sake of explanation I shall here subjoin a few examples. Tegeingl is the name of a province in North Wales, over which David, son of Owen, had dominion, and which had once been in the possession of ...
— The Description of Wales • Geraldus Cambrensis

... He was prepared for equivocation, possibly for denial, but not for attack. His manner changed and showed distrust and I saw that I had lost rather than made ...
— The House of the Whispering Pines • Anna Katharine Green

... most sacred of all obligations, to which we are entitled, not as members of society, but as individuals and as men; the right of adhering steadily and uniformly to the great and supreme laws of conscience and duty; of preferring, at all hazards and without equivocation, those general and substantial interests which members have sworn to prefer; of acquitting themselves honorably to their constituents, to their friends, to their own minds, and to that public whose trustees they were, and for whom they acted." He avowed his conviction ...
— The Constitutional History of England From 1760 to 1860 • Charles Duke Yonge

... 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 ...
— Wives and Daughters • Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

... the tall building, with which his predecessors dealt always with trepidation and equivocation, Mr. Sullivan approached with confidence and joy. "What," he asked himself, "is the chief characteristic of the tall office building? It is lofty. This loftiness is to the artist-nature its thrilling aspect. It must be tall. ...
— Architecture and Democracy • Claude Fayette Bragdon

... but for the first step, and fails when a second is required to support it. But they were forsaken in their hour of calamity, not by courage only, but by prudence, by judgment, by conscience itself. The Bishop of Rochester stooped to an equivocation too transparent to deceive any one; he said that "he meant only the doings of the Bohemians were for lack of faith, and not the doings of the Commons House"—"which saying was confirmed by the bishops present." The king allowed ...
— The Reign of Henry the Eighth, Volume 1 (of 3) • James Anthony Froude

... England,—if it has any hope that, in the hour of peril or of adversity, that protection which has more than once saved it from destruction, will be extended to it again, it must renounce absolutely, and without equivocation, the barbarous practice which has called forth the remonstrance now addressed to it. Your Excellency will require an early answer; and you will let the Turkish Ministers understand that if that answer does not fully correspond ...
— Correspondence Relating to Executions in Turkey for Apostacy from Islamism • Various

... that Nicety I've hitherto preserv'd.' There needed no more from a Maid of Isabella's Integrity and Reputation, to convince any one of the Sincerity of what she said, since, in the whole course of her Life, she never could be charg'd with an Untruth, or an Equivocation; and Katteriena assur'd her, she believ'd her, and was infinitely glad she had vanquish'd a Passion, that would have prov'd destructive to her Repose: Isabella reply'd, She had not altogether vanquish'd her ...
— The Works of Aphra Behn - Volume V • Aphra Behn

... the term all white persons. In short, the Boer plainly and bluntly disdains to use the diplomatic phraseology of the British statesman. He shuts the door of hope in the native's face, without apology or equivocation. ...
— The Journal of Negro History, Volume 6, 1921 • Various



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



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