Feb 8, 2007

Rapid Rhetoric: TERGIVERSATION

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This is an irregular feature - both in frequency and oddness - dedicated to a word I came across that I have never previously used.

tergiversation (tuhr-jiv-uhr-SAY-shun) n. The act of being evasive or of being purposefully ambiguous; being an apostate or renegade; abandoning a party, cause, or set of beliefs.

The verb form is tergiversate. No jokes about sending the word and its definitions along to Senator Joe Lieberman, please.

Tergiversation is derived from the Latin tergiversatus, meaning "to turn one's back" or "to shift."

1 comment:

Maggie Thurber said...

Mike - I always enjoy your new words...but this one has me confused. It appears the three descriptions of what the word can mean are extremely broad.

You can be evasive or purposefully ambiguous (my thought immediately went to politicians), but to be a renegade or abandon a party, cause or belief seems to be rather different.

Very interesting...