July 21, 2012
prevaricate (verb)
\prih-VAIR-uh-kayt\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: lie
How do you use it?
When Liam's dad angrily demanded to know who had left the garbage can in the driveway because he had just run it over with the car, Liam didn't prevaricate and admitted it was his fault.
Are you a word wiz?

English picked up the word "prevaricate" from a form of the Latin word "praevaricari." What do you think the literal meaning of "praevaricari" is?

We're not lying: the right answer is C. When you "prevaricate," you lie by quibbling over the facts or by trying to confuse the issue. You might think of it as walking crookedly rather than in a straight path to the truth. This is what Latin speakers had in mind with "praevaricari," the root of "prevaricate." They used "praevaricari" to mean "to act in collusion" ("collusion" means "a secret agreement or cooperation for an illegal or dishonest purpose"), a figurative use of its literal meaning "to stand with the legs apart, straddle." "Praevaricari" traces ultimately back to Latin "varus," which means "bowlegged."
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