n. to change repeatedly one’s attitude or opinions with respect to a cause, subject, etc.; equivocate

Tergiversation has had many meanings, ranging from outright apostasy (abandonment of a faith, party or cause) to mere vacillation (hemming and hawing, basically). It’s a 17th-century addition to the language from the Latin tergiversārÄ«, which literally means to turn one’s back (tergum (back) + versāre (to turn)).

I just think it’s a cool word, and obviously one that’s useful in more than one context. A note: the g is a soft one, meaning the word is pronounced tÉ™r-jiv-É™r-say-shun.

§1599 · January 3, 2007 · Tags: ·

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