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September 6, 2022

Prevaricate / verb / pre·var·i·cate

The word prevaricate means to mislead someone in order to gain an advantage. We prevaricate with words, actions, or thoughts. We use the word "prevaricate" as a subtle way of saying we think someone is lying. People prevaricate to avoid facing unpleasant consequences and to protect themselves from scrutiny. The words fabricate and lie have similar meanings as prevaricate.

In a Sentence

Some people feel it's better to prevaricate than to tell the truth to protect other people's feelings.

The suspect prevaricated to the police and made up a fake story about where he was at the time of the crime.

Her parents knew she would prevaricate when they asked why she missed her curfew.


We derived the word prevaricate from the combination of a few Latin words. "Prevaricate'' is from the Latin word "prevaricator" which means "a deceiver.” It also comes from prevectus, meaning "a going before" and praevaricare, meaning "to deceive.” According to etymologists, the word “prevaricate” entered our language after 1492, and we started using it in the English language in the early 1600s. Prevaricating is stretching the truth or omitting information to avoid telling the whole truth. The definition hasn't changed since we started using it in the 1600s.


Fabricate, Lie


Confront, Put Straight


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