Definition of equivocal in English:

equivocal

adjective

  • 1Open to more than one interpretation; ambiguous.

    ‘the equivocal nature of her remarks’
    • ‘However, the evidence on industrial disputes is at least equivocal and there are indications of higher levels of conflict that challenge notions of quiescent workforces unwilling to take action.’
    • ‘If Auchter seems equivocal, the GED Testing Service website borders on the deceptive.’
    • ‘Certainly, where the evidence in question is equivocal, in the sense of ambiguous and uncertain and conjectural in nature, the probative force is of such diminished significance as to be valueless.’
    • ‘The equivocal mood produces a vague (but not dangerous) unease.’
    • ‘It is necessary to understand that, but it is necessary also to recognise that such decisions are morally equivocal, and that they may bring in their wake a dangerous disregard for legal rights in general.’
    • ‘And the statement of fact in the latter case seems to be less misleading and equivocal than in the former.’
    • ‘However, in single and double overexpressors the intersection was equivocal.’
    • ‘Although the ministers managed to adopt an agenda-setting declaration as a result of marathon negotiations, the road map is equivocal enough to allow each member to arbitrarily interpret it.’
    • ‘No doubt its subversive yet equivocal message will keep gay fans debating long past Labor Day.’
    • ‘Some ambiguous changes were possible because of unresolved phylogeny or equivocal reconstruction.’
    • ‘But where the contract does not tell the whole story or is equivocal as to who is supplying what and to whom, it will be permissible to substitute it by, or fill its gaps by reference to, the real deal.’
    • ‘Except in the postcontact period, the Neanderthals had exhibited only equivocal signs of symbolic behaviors.’
    • ‘Is it any wonder that his ambiguous hybrid art dissolves boundaries in such an equivocal manner?’
    • ‘Social-science research is often equivocal, but on the cost of parenthood to mothers in particular a truckload of research exists to establish how it limits economic options in every class.’
    • ‘This deformation renders interpretations of the original nature of such contacts equivocal.’
    • ‘This constellation of ideas provides a non-dogmatic and equivocal statement on the co-optation and dialectical struggle of Soviet art.’
    • ‘Second, the interpretation of histological characters is equivocal.’
    • ‘His reply was oblique, equivocal, and we hurried on to other matters.’
    • ‘Battle's answer to this question is equivocal.’
    • ‘Finally, there is evidence that propaliny evolved twice within Anomodontia, but much of it depends on how equivocal or poorly preserved features of Otsheria and Ulemica are interpreted.’
    undecided, to be decided, unresolved, undetermined, uncertain, open, arguable, debatable, disputed, unanswered, open to debate, doubtful, in doubt, moot, up in the air, in limbo, in a state of limbo, in a state of uncertainty, indefinite, inconclusive, unconfirmed, unsolved, ongoing, pending
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    1. 1.1 Uncertain or questionable in nature.
      ‘the results of the investigation were equivocal’
      • ‘Metaphors of evolution were often mobilised, although the equivocal nature of the concept of evolution necessitates care in our interpretation of how contemporaries used the term.’
      • ‘Monteith reads the novels included in her study as offering equivocal answers to this question of microcosmic social change.’
      • ‘Therefore, results may remain equivocal or questionable regardless of the number of times the experiment is performed.’
      • ‘His failure in this respect left Anglo-Irish relations in an equivocal and uncertain state.’
      • ‘Success was equivocal, until it was pointed out that the charm lacked a joint.’
      • ‘Overall, support for the direct influence of the economics of language on multilingualism was equivocal.’
      • ‘Another fundamental point is how to interpret equivocal tests.’
      • ‘The possibility is still open to his characters, but in an increasingly equivocal and doubtful way.’
      • ‘The result is skeptical and non-reductionistic, both good, but confusingly equivocal.’
      • ‘The logic of the reasoning that implies that, taken in isolation, past conduct is equivocal assumes, contrary to experience, that parties are as likely to breach their obligations as to perform them.’
      • ‘Many experts claim that they do not occur in the Olympic Mountains, although there is some equivocal evidence to the contrary.’
      • ‘Note that other interpretations included not only incorrect diagnoses but also interpretations indicative of equivocal results or technical problems.’
      • ‘Given the equivocal nature of the evidence, deviations from these recommendations may, and should, occur.’
      • ‘The heterogeneity of the political climate, and the equivocal success of traditional ideological labels in differentiating parties, allows for a more complete test of the two-value hypothesis.’
      • ‘This information is helpful when managing patients with diabetes and end-stage renal disease because they tend to have equivocal PVR studies and problematic wounds.’
      • ‘The first has to do with the equivocal nature of the evidence for the doctrine.’
      • ‘We have extensive experience with the strand displacement amplification test and have not experienced such a problem with equivocal results.’
      • ‘In his closing submissions, Mr. Marler quite properly abandoned reliance on certain pleaded misrepresentations by Hillis considering the equivocal nature of the evidence.’
      • ‘In contrast, three further compounds that were positive or equivocal in the bacterial assays were negative in GSA and mammalian assays (Compounds B, E and M).’
      • ‘Despite the limitations of the era's technology, the exercise ended as an equivocal success.’
      controversial, contentious, open to question, open to doubt, in doubt, doubtful, dubious, uncertain, unsure, debatable, in dispute, in question, arguable, problematic, problematical
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Origin

Mid 16th century: from late Latin aequivocus, from Latin aequus ‘equally’ + vocare ‘to call’.

Pronunciation

equivocal

/əˈkwɪvək(ə)l//əˈkwivək(ə)l/