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equivocal

more about equivocal

equivocal


  3  definitions  found 
 
  From  Webster's  Revised  Unabridged  Dictionary  (1913)  [web1913]: 
 
  Equivocal  \E*quiv"o*cal\,  a.  [L.  aequivocus:  aequus  equal  +  vox, 
  vocis,  word  See  {Equal},  and  {Voice},  and  cf  {Equivoque}.] 
  1.  (Literally,  called  equally  one  thing  or  the  other  hence:) 
  Having  two  significations  equally  applicable;  capable  of 
  double  interpretation;  of  doubtful  meaning;  ambiguous; 
  uncertain;  as  equivocal  words  an  equivocal  sentence. 
 
  For  the  beauties  of  Shakespeare  are  not  of  so  dim  or 
  equivocal  a  nature  as  to  be  visible  only  to  learned 
  eyes.  --Jeffrey. 
 
  2.  Capable  of  being  ascribed  to  different  motives,  or  of 
  signifying  opposite  feelings,  purposes,  or  characters; 
  deserving  to  be  suspected;  as  his  actions  are  equivocal. 
  ``Equivocal  repentances.''  --Milton. 
 
  3.  Uncertain,  as  an  indication  or  sign;  doubtful.  ``How 
  equivocal  a  test.''  --Burke. 
 
  {Equivocal  chord}  (Mus.),  a  chord  which  can  be  resolved  into 
  several  distinct  keys;  one  whose  intervals,  being  all 
  minor  thirds,  do  not  clearly  indicate  its  fundamental  tone 
  or  root;  the  chord  of  the  diminished  triad,  and  the 
  diminished  seventh 
 
  Syn:  Ambiguous;  doubtful;  uncertain;  indeterminate. 
 
  Usage:  {Equivocal},  {Ambiguous}.  We  call  an  expression 
  ambiguous  when  it  has  one  general  meaning,  and  yet 
  contains  certain  words  which  may  be  taken  in  two 
  different  senses  or  certain  clauses  which  can  be  so 
  connected  with  other  clauses  as  to  divide  the  mind 
  between  different  views  of  part  of  the  meaning 
  intended.  We  call  an  expression  equivocal  when  taken 
  as  a  whole,  it  conveys  a  given  thought  with  perfect 
  clearness  and  propriety,  and  also  another  thought  with 
  equal  propriety  and  clearness.  Such  were  the  responses 
  often  given  by  the  Delphic  oracle;  as  that  to  Cr?sus 
  when  consulting  about  a  war  with  Persia:  ``If  you 
  cross  the  Halys,  you  will  destroy  a  great  empire.'' 
  This  he  applied  to  the  Persian  empire,  which  lay 
  beyond  that  river,  and  having  crossed,  destroyed  his 
  own  empire  in  the  conflict.  What  is  ambiguous  is  a 
  mere  blunder  of  language;  what  is  equivocal  is  usually 
  intended  to  deceive,  though  it  may  occur  at  times  from 
  mere  inadvertence.  Equivocation  is  applied  only  to 
  cases  where  there  is  a  design  to  deceive. 
 
  From  Webster's  Revised  Unabridged  Dictionary  (1913)  [web1913]: 
 
  Equivocal  \E*quiv"o*cal\,  n. 
  A  word  or  expression  capable  of  different  meanings;  an 
  ambiguous  term;  an  equivoque. 
 
  In  languages  of  great  ductility,  equivocals  like  that 
  just  referred  to  are  rarely  found  --Fitzed. 
  Hall. 
 
  From  WordNet  r  1.6  [wn]: 
 
  equivocal 
  adj  1:  open  to  two  or  more  interpretations;  or  of  uncertain  nature 
  or  significance;  or  often  intended  to  mislead;  "an 
  equivocal  statement";  "the  polling  had  a  complex  and 
  equivocal  (or  ambiguous)  message  for  potential  female 
  candidates";  "the  officer's  equivocal  behavior 
  increased  the  victim's  uneasiness";  "popularity  is  an 
  equivocal  crown";  "an  equivocal  response  to  an 
  embarrassing  question"  [syn:  {ambiguous}]  [ant:  {unequivocal}] 
  2:  open  to  question;  "aliens  of  equivocal  loyalty";  "his 
  conscience  reproached  him  with  the  equivocal  character  of 
  the  union  into  which  he  had  forced  his  son"-Anna  Jameson 
  3:  uncertain  as  a  sign  or  indication;  "the  evidence  from 
  bacteriologic  analysis  was  equivocal" 




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