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Alternative forms[edit]


From Late Latin aequivocus +‎ -al, from aequus +‎ vocō.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /əˈkwɪvəkəl/
    • (file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /ɪˈkwɪvək(ə)l/
  • hyphenation UK: equivo‧cal


equivocal (comparative more equivocal, superlative most equivocal)

  1. Having two or more equally applicable meanings; capable of double or multiple interpretation.
    Synonyms: ambiguous, indeterminate
    Antonyms: unequivocal, univocal
    equivocal words
    an equivocal sentence
    • 1817, William Hazlitt, Characters of Shakespeare's Plays:
      For the beauties of Shakespeare are not of so dim or equivocal a nature as to be visible only to learned eyes.
  2. Capable of being ascribed to different motives, or of signifying opposite feelings, purposes, or characters; deserving to be suspected.
    His actions are equivocal.
  3. Uncertain, as an indication or sign.
    Synonyms: uncertain, doubtful, incongruous
    Antonym: certain
    • 1796, Edmund Burke, A Letter from the Right Honourable Edmund Burke to a Noble Lord, on the Attacks Made upon Him and His Pension, [], 10th edition, London: [] J. Owen, [], and F[rancis] and C[harles] Rivington, [], →OCLC:
      How equivocal a test.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]



equivocal (plural equivocals)

  1. (philosophy) A word or expression capable of different meanings; an ambiguous term.
    Synonyms: double entendre, equivoque
    • 2012, Deborah Achtenberg, Cognition of Value in Aristotle's Ethics:
      Some equivocals are merely ambiguous. Sharp is an example. It is equivocal since it is appropriate to call different types of things 'sharp' though what it is for them to be sharp differs.


Further reading[edit]