Equivocal (adj)

Here is a context clues worksheet on the adjective equivocal. This is a word freighted with a number of closely related meanings: “subject to two or more interpretations and usually used to mislead or confuse <an ~ statement>”;  “uncertain as an indication or sign <~ evidence>”;  “of uncertain nature or classification <~ shapes>”; of uncertain disposition toward a person or thing <an ~ attitude>,” and “of doubtful advantage, genuineness, or moral rectitude.” Merriam-Webster offers obscure as a synonym–so you see the problem here.

You can probably see or hear the Latin roots equ and equi–i.e. equal in this word. In fact, using Latin word roots, one can easily see two of them work, equ and equi as above, along with voc–“to call, voice.” The word means equal voice, which certainly squares with obscure, particularly as the number of voices in an equivocal statement increases.

As I prepared to post this, I went looking for a context clues worksheet on the verb equivocate. To my surprise, I haven’t produced one yet. Since verbs are the workhorses of language, I try to lead with them where context clues worksheets are concerned. In this case, after looking at the definition of equivocate, “to use equivocal language esp. with intent to deceive” and “to avoid committing oneself in what one says,” I see why I started with the adjective. In any case, a worksheet on the verb is forthcoming.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

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