1. the use of equivocal or ambiguous expressions, especially in order to mislead or hedge; prevarication.
  2. an equivocal, ambiguous expression; equivoque: The speech was marked by elaborate equivocations.
  3. Logic. a fallacy caused by the double meaning of a word.


  1. the act or an instance of equivocating
  2. logic a fallacy based on the use of the same term in different senses, esp as the middle term of a syllogism, as the badger lives in the bank, and the bank is in the High Street, so the badger lives in the High Street

late 14c., “the fallacy of using a word in different senses at different stages of the reasoning” (a loan-translation of Greek homonymia, literally “having the same name”), from Old French equivocation, from Late Latin aequivocationem (nominative aequivocatio), from aequivocus “of identical sound,” past participle of aequivocare, from aequus “equal” (see equal (adj.)) + vocare “to call” (see voice (n.)).

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