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prevaricate

(3 Posts)
PickleFish Fri 07-Jan-11 19:58:23

I've seen this quite a bit lately, on a variety of threads, used to mean "can't make a decision between two options". I always thought that it meant to lie or deliberatley mislead someone. Is this a new/regional meaning?

And if not, what word are they actually thinking of? The word that comes to mind to me is 'vacillate', but that doesn't sound much like it, and I wonder if there is another one that is closer that they are mixing it up with.

I've seen it in multiple places, so it doesn't seem like just one person muddling two similar words, but rather that it's coming from somewhere (or they're all learning that meaning/context from each other?)

nickelbabyjesus Sat 08-Jan-11 14:31:42

You are right in your definition, but I can't think of the word they're replacing....

Technoprisoners Sat 08-Jan-11 14:43:44

Prevaricate has several meanings, one of which is to deviate; so, those who use it to mean "can't make a decision between two options" are correct.

It also means to evade the truth, and to betray someone by colluding with an opponent.

Vacillate simiply means to shift from side to side, and doesn't have the multiple meanings of prevaricate.

HTH.

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