When you prevaricate, you lie or mislead. Now, go ahead and tell me whether you already knew that meaning, and don’t prevaricate about it — give me the story straight!

While prevaricate basically means to lie, it also has the sense of making it hard to know exactly what the lie was. You talk in a confusing way, go back and forth, and as deliberately as possible mislead someone. Government officials, bureaucrats, and sneaky types prevaricate in the hopes that it will be too difficult to figure out whether they've been doing something wrong. Don't prevaricate with your parents — it will definitely make you look guilty, but they just won't be sure of what!

Definitions of prevaricate
  1. verb
    be deliberately ambiguous or unclear in order to mislead or withhold information
    synonyms: beat around the bush, equivocate, palter, tergiversate
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    type of:
    misinform, mislead
    give false or misleading information to
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