equivocal \ih-KWIV-uh-kul\ adjective
1 *a : subject to two or more interpretations and usually used to mislead or confuse b : uncertain as an indication or sign
2 a : of uncertain nature or classification b : of uncertain disposition toward a person or thing : undecided c : of doubtful advantage, genuineness, or moral rectitude
When asked about his plans to end tenure and rescind health care for new hires, the president gave only equivocal answers, providing little information about his plans.
Did you know?
"Equivocal," "vague," and "ambiguous" all mean "not clearly understandable" and are used to describe confusing speech or writing. "Equivocal" — which can be traced back to the Latin prefix "aequi-" ("equi-") and the Latin word "vox" ("voice") — applies to language left open to differing interpretations with the intention of deceiving or evading ("moral precepts with equivocal phrasing"). "Vague" implies a lack of clear formulation due to inadequate conception or consideration ("I had only a vague idea of how to get there"). "Ambiguous," like "equivocal," applies to language capable of more than one interpretation but usually does not have the negative connotations of deception or evasion ("the poet's wording is intentionally ambiguous").