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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 (plural equivocals)

  1. A word or expression capable of different meanings; an ambiguous term.
    Synonyms: double entendre, equivoque



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 to a noble lord
      How equivocal a test.

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