Origins – How To Say Yes And No

Equivocate is built on another Latin word meaning equal – aequus (the spelling in English is always equ-) – plus vox, vocis, voice.
When you equivocate, you seem to be saying both yes and no with equal voice. An equivocal answer, therefore, is by design vague, indefinite, and susceptible of contradictory interpretation, quite the opposite of an unequivocal response, which says Yes! or No!, and no kidding. Professional politicians are masters of equivocation – on most vital issues they sit on the fence. You will often hear candidates for office say, publicly, that they unequivocally promise, if elected, to . . . ; and then they start equivocating for all they are worth, like people who say, ‘Let me be perfectly Frank with you’ – and then promptly and glibly lie through their teeth.
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