Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal.


1. Open to two or more interpretations and often intended to conceal the truth. See Synonyms at ambiguous.
2. Characterized by a mixture of opposing elements and therefore questionable or uncertain: Evidence of the drug's effectiveness has been equivocal.

[From Late Latin aequivocus : Latin aequi-, equi- + Latin vocāre, to call; see wekw- in Indo-European roots.]

e·quiv′o·cal′i·ty (-kăl′ĭ-tē), e·quiv′o·cal·ness n.
e·quiv′o·cal·ly adv.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.equivocalness - unclearness by virtue of having more than one meaning
unclearness - incomprehensibility as a result of not being clear
evasiveness, prevarication, equivocation - intentionally vague or ambiguous
lexical ambiguity, polysemy - the ambiguity of an individual word or phrase that can be used (in different contexts) to express two or more different meanings
twilight zone, no man's land - the ambiguous region between two categories or states or conditions (usually containing some features of both); "but there is still a twilight zone, the tantalizing occurrences that are probably noise but might possibly be a signal"; "in the twilight zone between humor and vulgarity"; "in that no man's land between negotiation and aggression"
unambiguity, unequivocalness - clarity achieved by the avoidance of ambiguity
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
The dialogue between Zarathustra and the Magician reveals pretty fully what it was that Nietzsche grew to loathe so intensely in Wagner,--viz., his pronounced histrionic tendencies, his dissembling powers, his inordinate vanity, his equivocalness, his falseness.
It represents equivocalness present in the image by evaluating the space between its fuzzy attribute levels to nearest ordinary level.
Der Tod in Venedig is undoubtedly an ambivalent response to Wilde's legacy, yet the equivocalness of the portrayals of the queer characters permits an affirmative reading of the themes of same-sex desire, decadence, aestheticism, rebellion, effeminacy, and death.
Some passages have a decidedly unscientific or unrigorous air: the equivocalness of her Havana tour guide about the merits of tourism becomes redolent of a "deeper [governmental] ambivalence"; even in the book's more assured third section, Babb's analysis of the experience of two jineteras depends on frustratingly limited observation ("although I never observed [Ana] go off with anyone, if only because I did not stay out as late as she did....Claudia was quite certain she was a jinetera" [p.
The certainties "produced" in the call for a response that followed the "act of terror" fail to accord with Jacques Derrida's maxim to "not hide from" the aporia, to not hide the aporetic "from ourselves," since "ethics, politics, and responsibility, if there are any, will only ever have begun with the experience and experiment of the aporia." (44) It should, in other words, be recognized that all responses to the event are innately aporetic; both in the sense of not being able to grasp the event itself and in the very formulation of the response, in the equivocalness of who can and should respond.
Although the above four editors have different job descriptions their main focus is clarifying equivocalness, correcting inconsistencies, and maintaining the tone of the manuscript towards the target audience.