Prevarication is when someone tells a lie, especially in a sneaky way. A child might use prevarication to avoid telling the whole truth about how the kitchen window got broken.

While the noun prevarication is mostly just a fancy way to say "lie," it can also mean skirting around the truth, being vague about the truth, or even delaying giving someone an answer, especially to avoid telling them the whole truth. In the 16th century, the word was used to mean "going astray," or "stepping out of line." It comes from the Latin root word praevaricari, which literally translates as "walk crookedly."

Definitions of prevarication

n the deliberate act of deviating from the truth

fabrication, lying
fibbing, paltering
a trivial act of lying or being deliberately unclear
Type of:
falsification, misrepresentation
a willful perversion of facts

n a statement that deviates from or perverts the truth

show 5 types...
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fib, story, tale, taradiddle, tarradiddle
a trivial lie
(law) a false boast that can harm others; especially a false claim to be married to someone (formerly actionable at law)
walloper, whopper
a gross untruth; a blatant lie
white lie
an unimportant lie (especially one told to be tactful or polite)
cock-and-bull story, fairy story, fairy tale, fairytale, song and dance
an interesting but highly implausible story; often told as an excuse
Type of:
falsehood, falsity, untruth
a false statement

n intentional vagueness or ambiguity

equivocation, evasiveness
Type of:
ambiguity, equivocalness
unclearness by virtue of having more than one meaning
the quality of being untruthful

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