equivocal

Equivocal means uncertain or ambiguous. If you ask your teacher what's on an upcoming test and she gives you an equivocal answer, you won't be able to narrow down your studying.

Equivocal is from the Latin aequus, "equal, the same," + vocare, "to call, to speak," and describes when something is too close to call. An editorial in your local newspaper might make a strong case for new taxes on soda, while another editorial is more equivocal. The fact that equivocal means "uncertain" and unequivocal means "certain" is tricky, and a lot of people get stumped.

Definitions of equivocal
  1. adjective
    open to two or more interpretations; or of uncertain nature or significance; or (often) intended to mislead
    “an equivocal statement”
    “the officer's equivocal behavior increased the victim's uneasiness”
    “popularity is an equivocal crown”
    “an equivocal response to an embarrassing question”
    synonyms: ambiguous
    ambiguous
    having more than one possible meaning
    double, forked
    having two meanings with intent to deceive
    evasive
    deliberately vague or ambiguous
    indeterminate
    of uncertain or ambiguous nature
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    Antonyms:
    unambiguous, unequivocal, univocal
    admitting of no doubt or misunderstanding; having only one meaning or interpretation and leading to only one conclusion
    unambiguous
    having or exhibiting a single clearly defined meaning
    absolute
    expressing finality with no implication of possible change
    straightforward
    free from ambiguity
    unquestionable
    not open to question
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  2. adjective
    uncertain as a sign or indication
    “the evidence from bacteriologic analysis was equivocal
    Synonyms:
    inconclusive
    not conclusive; not putting an end to doubt or question
  3. adjective
    open to question
    “aliens of equivocal loyalty”
    “"his conscience reproached him with the equivocal character of the union into which he had forced his son"-Anna Jameson”
    Synonyms:
    questionable
    subject to question
Word Family