Definition of Equivocal

1. Adjective. Open to two or more interpretations; or of uncertain nature or significance; or (often) intended to mislead. "An equivocal response to an embarrassing question"

Exact synonyms: Ambiguous
Also: Ambiguous
Similar to: Double, Forked, Evasive, Indeterminate
Derivative terms: Ambiguity, Ambiguity, Equivocalness
Antonyms: Unequivocal



2. Adjective. Open to question. "His conscience reproached him with the equivocal character of the union into which he had forced his son"
Similar to: Questionable

3. Adjective. Uncertain as a sign or indication. "The evidence from bacteriologic analysis was equivocal"
Similar to: Inconclusive

Definition of Equivocal

1. a. (Literally, called equally one thing or the other; hence:) Having two significations equally applicable; capable of double interpretation; of doubtful meaning; ambiguous; uncertain; as, equivocal words; an equivocal sentence.

2. n. A word or expression capable of different meanings; an ambiguous term; an equivoque.

Definition of Equivocal

1. Noun. A word or expression capable of different meanings; an ambiguous term; an equivoque. ¹

2. Adjective. (Literally, called equally one thing or the other; hence:) Having two or more significations equally applicable; capable of double or multiple interpretation; of doubtful meaning; ambiguous; uncertain; as, equivocal words; an equivocal sentence. ¹

3. Adjective. Capable of being ascribed to different motives, or of signifying opposite feelings, purposes, or characters; deserving to be suspected; as, his actions are equivocal. ¹

4. Adjective. Uncertain, as an indication or sign; doubtful, incongruous. ¹

¹ Source: wiktionary.com

Definition of Equivocal

1. [adj]

Medical Definition of Equivocal

1. 1. (Literally, called equally one thing or the other; hence:) Having two significations equally applicable; capable of double interpretation; of doubtful meaning; ambiguous; uncertain; as, equivocal words; an equivocal sentence. "For the beauties of Shakespeare are not of so dim or equivocal a nature as to be visible only to learned eyes." (Jeffrey) 2. Capable of being ascribed to different motives, or of signifying opposite feelings, purposes, or characters; deserving to be suspected; as, his actions are equivocal. "Equivocal repentances." 3. Uncertain, as an indication or sign; doubtful. "How equivocal a test." Equivocal chord, a chord which can be resolved into several distinct keys; one whose intervals, being all minor thirds, do not clearly indicate its fundamental tone or root; the chord of the diminished triad, and the diminished seventh. Synonym: Ambiguous, doubtful, uncertain, indeterminate. Equivocal, Ambiguous. We call an expression ambiguous when it has one general meaning, and yet contains certain words which may be taken in two different senses; or certain clauses which can be so connected with other clauses as to divide the mind between different views of part of the meaning intended. We call an expression equivocal when, taken as a whole, it conveys a given thought with perfect clearness and propriety, and also another thought with equal propriety and clearness. Such were the responses often given by the Delphic oracle; as that to Crsus when consulting about a war with Persia: "If you cross the Halys, you will destroy a great empire." This he applied to the Persian empire, which lay beyond that river, and, having crossed, destroyed his own, empire in the conflict. What is ambiguous is a mere blunder of language; what is equivocal is usually intended to deceive, though it may occur at times from mere inadvertence. Equivocation is applied only to cases where there is a design to deceive. Origin: L. Aequivocus: aequus equal + vox, vocis, word. See Equal, and Voice, and cf. Equivoque. A word or expression capable of different meanings; an ambiguous term; an equivoque. "In languages of great ductility, equivocals like that just referred to are rarely found." (Fitzed. Hall) Source: Websters Dictionary (01 Mar 1998)

Equivocal Pictures

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Lexicographical Neighbors of Equivocal

equivalised
equivalue
equivalued
equivalues
equivalve
equivalved
equivalves
equivalvular
equivariance
equivariant
equivariantly
equiveillance
equiviscous temperature
equivocacies
equivocacy
equivocal (current term)
equivocal symptom
equivocalities
equivocality
equivocally
equivocalness
equivocalnesses
equivocals
equivocate
equivocated
equivocates
equivocating
equivocatingly
equivocation
equivocations

Literary usage of Equivocal

Below you will find example usage of this term as found in modern and/or classical literature:

1. An Illustrated Treatise on the Law of Evidence by Thomas Welburn Hughes (1905)
"As stated by Professor Wigmore, they must "give definite significance to the equivocal or indefinite conduct, by adding a missing part. ..."

2. South Eastern Reporter by West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, West Publishing Company, South Carolina Supreme Court (1911)
"fers himself as a witness in his own behalt should be construed most strongly against such party, when it is contradictory, or vague, or equivocal. ..."

3. Forensic Oratory: A Manual for Advocates by William Callyhan Robinson (1893)
"When a word has two or more comprehensions it is equivocal, and taken by itself is ... The English language is full of these equivocal terms, and to their ..."

4. A Treatise on International Law by William Edward Hall, James Beresford Atlay (1904)
"Nevertheless its position in law is somewhat equivocal. Regarded from the point of view of the state intruded upon it must always remain an act which, ..."

5. Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant (1901)
"... use of empirical principles, without containing at the same time any other object of cognition beyond their sphere. APPENDIX OP THE equivocal NATURE OB ..."

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