What is the etymology of prevaricate


[ pri-var-i-keyt ]

/ prɪˈvær ɪˌkeɪt /


verb (used without object),pre·var·i·cat·ed,pre·var·i·cat·ing.

to speak falsely or misleadingly; deliberately misstate or create an incorrect impression; lie.

Words nearby prevaricate

prevailing, prevailing westerlies, prevailing wind, prevalence, prevalent, prevaricate, prevarication, prevaricator, prevenient, prevenient grace, prevent

Origin of prevaricate

1575–85; < Latinpraevāricātus, past participle of praevāricārī to straddle something, (of an advocate) collude with an opponent's advocate, equivalent to prae-pre- + vāricāre to straddle, derivative of vārus bent outwards, bow-legged

OTHER WORDS FROM prevaricate

pre·var·i·ca·tion, nounpre·var·i·ca·tive, pre·var·i·ca·to·ry[pri-var-i-kuh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee]/prɪˈvær ɪ kəˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/, adjectiveun·pre·var·i·cat·ing, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for prevaricate

  • They can dodge or prevaricate or just hang up when dealing with a voice on the phone.

    Florida’s Midterm Warm Up|Ben Jacobs|March 11, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • Since I was not allowed to prevaricate, all that remained for me to do was to return no reply.

    Tell England|Ernest Raymond

  • Had he lived in our day he would have been able to prevaricate with a wider vocabulary, which makes a great difference.

    The Evolution of States|J. M. Robertson

  • But there was no reason for Jessie to prevaricate any further.

    The Weight of the Crown|Fred M. White

  • Occasionally some child of sin would endeavour to prevaricate.

    Flaming June|Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey

  • They dont have to tell the truth all the time, but on the contrary, are privileged to prevaricate in the most artistic manner.

    Nothing But the Truth|Frederic S. Isham

British Dictionary definitions for prevaricate



(intr)to speak or act falsely or evasively with intent to deceive

Derived forms of prevaricate

prevarication, nounprevaricator, noun

Word Origin for prevaricate

C16: from Latin praevāricārī to walk crookedly, from prae beyond + vāricare to straddle the legs; compare Latin vārus bent

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Words related to prevaricate

cavil, shuffle, invent, misrepresent, lie, equivocate, fib, falsify, garble, dodge, tergiversate, distort, palter, hedge, exaggerate, fabricate, shift, evade, belie, quibble