Online Encyclopedia

PREVARICATION

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V22, Page 311 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PREVARICATION, a divergence from the truth, equivocation, quibbling, a want of plain-dealing or straightforwardness, especially a deliberate misrepresentation by evasive answers, often used as a less offensive synonym for a lie. The Latin praevaricatio was specifically applied to the conduct in an action at law in which an advocate (praevaricator) in collusion with his opponent put up a bad case of defence. Praevaricare meant literally to walk with the legs very wide apart, to straddle, hence to walk crookedly, to stray from the direct road, varicus, straddling, being derived from varus, bow-legged, a word which has been connected etymologically with German quer, transverse, across, and English "queer."
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