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Equivocation   /ɪkwɪvəkˈeɪʃən/   Listen
Equivocation

noun
1.
A statement that is not literally false but that cleverly avoids an unpleasant truth.  Synonym: evasion.
2.
Intentionally vague or ambiguous.  Synonyms: evasiveness, prevarication.
3.
Falsification by means of vague or ambiguous language.  Synonym: tergiversation.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Equivocation" Quotes from Famous Books



... the Nobles of Germany/, in his works /On the Mass/, /On the Improvement of Christian Morality/, and /On the Babylonian Captivity/, he proclaimed himself a political as well as a religious revolutionary. There was no longer any concealment or equivocation. The veil was lifted at last, and Luther stood forth to the world as the declared enemy of the Church and the Pope, the champion of the Bible as the sole rule of faith, and the defender of individual judgment as its only interpreter. In these works he rejected the ...
— History of the Catholic Church from the Renaissance to the French • Rev. James MacCaffrey

... "No equivocation," burst Lionel. "Have you not known that I loved you? that I was only waiting my uncle's death to make you my wife?—Heaven forgive me that I should thus speak as though I had ...
— Verner's Pride • Mrs. Henry Wood

... "No equivocation, I repeat; you are perfectly aware that, as the head of the nobility in France, I am accountable to all for the honor of every family. You dismiss Mademoiselle de la Valliere, or whoever else it may be—" Madame shrugged her shoulders. "Or whoever else it may be, I repeat," continued ...
— Louise de la Valliere • Alexandre Dumas, Pere

... asked, "Why tertian and quartan fevers were like certain short-lived insects." Some interesting physiological relation would be naturally suggested. The inquirer blushes to find that the answer is in the paltry equivocation, that they skip a day or two.—"Why an Englishman must go to the Continent to weaken his grog or punch." The answer proves to have no relation whatever to the temperance-movement, as no better reason is given ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Volume 2, Issue 11, September, 1858 • Various

... expressed great diffidence of the mercy of God, seemed to be in a slate of despair, and though he was often pressed to declare whether depositions he had given against the afore-mentioned street robbers were true or not, he either waived making an answer, or used so much evasion or equivocation that it still remained doubtful whether he swore truth ...
— Lives Of The Most Remarkable Criminals Who have been Condemned and Executed for Murder, the Highway, Housebreaking, Street Robberies, Coining or other offences • Arthur L. Hayward

... James; "I don't understand it so at all. I speak plainly and without equivocation. It must be enough for the States that I promise them, in case the enemy is cheating or is trying to play any trick whatever, or is seeking to break the Treaty of Xanten in a single point, to come to their assistance ...
— The Rise of the Dutch Republic, 1555-1566 • John Lothrop Motley

... jury; that the witnesses against him should not be suffered to run on without a sufficient rigour of cross-examination. But certainly the judge thought it no part of his duty to make 'the worse appear the better reason'; to throw dust into the eyes of the jury; or to labour any point of equivocation for the sake of giving the prisoner an extra chance of escaping. And, if it is really right that the prisoner, when obviously guilty, should be aided in evading his probable conviction, then certainly ...
— The Posthumous Works of Thomas De Quincey, Vol. 1 (2 vols) • Thomas De Quincey

... she have forced Maria into the most innocent equivocation, and she rattled on about her wonderful summer as people are expected to do after their first visit ...
— The Sisters-In-Law • Gertrude Atherton

... classes, and I was asked whether I had written and published it. I at once answered "I did." Scarcely were these two words out of my mouth, when vehement applause resounded through the whole meeting. It was evident that the working people were so accustomed to expect equivocation and evasion from those who sought their suffrages, that when they found, instead of that, a direct avowal of what was likely to be disagreeable to them, instead of being affronted, they concluded at once that this was a person whom they could trust. A more striking ...
— Autobiography • John Stuart Mill

... head is not the flesh of your body. No, I will not injure the hair!"—Pomp waited for his prisoner to take in all the horrible suggestiveness of this equivocation; then resumed. "Is not that what you would have said to me if you had found me in your power after making me such a promise? The black man has no rights which the white man is bound to respect! The most solemn pledges made by one of your race to one of mine ...
— Cudjo's Cave • J. T. Trowbridge

... Southern market. As to the Southerners, their relation with this party has two distinct chapters. The first embraced the twenty years preceding the Compromise of 1850, and may be thought of as merging into the second during three or four years following the great equivocation. In that period, while the antislavery crusade was taking form, the aim of Southern politicians was mainly negative. "Let us alone," was their chief demand. Though aggressive in their policy, they were too far-sighted to demand of the North any positive course ...
— Abraham Lincoln and the Union - A Chronicle of the Embattled North, Volume 29 In The - Chronicles Of America Series • Nathaniel W. Stephenson

... throughout the law the term all white persons. In short, the Boer plainly and bluntly disdains to use the diplomatic phraseology of the British statesman. He shuts the door of hope in the native's face, without apology or equivocation. ...
— The Journal of Negro History, Volume 6, 1921 • Various

... Lord, my Lord, this is mere cozenage[183], A vile equivocation; you well know Your doubts are certainties to all around you— 260 Your looks a voice—your frowns a sentence; you Are practising your power on me—because You have it; but beware! you know not whom ...
— The Works of Lord Byron - Poetry, Volume V. • Lord Byron

... heresiarchs—this great revival of religious faith was essentially the triumph of profane feeling in the garb of religious: the sanctification, however much disguised, of all forms of human love. One is fully aware of the moral dangers attendant upon every such equivocation; and the great saints (like their last modern representatives, the fervent, shrewd, and kindly leaders of certain Protestant revivals) were probably, for all their personal extravagances, most fully prepared for every sort of unwholesome folly among their disciples. ...
— Renaissance Fancies and Studies - Being a Sequel to Euphorion • Violet Paget (AKA Vernon Lee)

... loiter by the [way] when he is sent of an errand, but shall make hast and give a direct answer when he is asked who he is going [for]. No Freshman shall use lying or equivocation to escape going ...
— A Collection of College Words and Customs • Benjamin Homer Hall

... pert but wholly inoffensive inquiry. He seemed to ask it as a matter of course and as one who had the right to be answered without equivocation. ...
— The Man Who Knew • Edgar Wallace

... in order to excite the laughter of their guests, and gain credit by their sayings, make use of great facetiousness in their conversation; at one time uttering their jokes in a light, easy manner, at another time, under the disguise of equivocation, passing the severest censures. For the sake of explanation I shall here subjoin a few examples. Tegeingl is the name of a province in North Wales, over which David, son of Owen, had dominion, and which had once been in the possession of his brother. The ...
— The Description of Wales • Geraldus Cambrensis

... A TREATISE OF EQUIVOCATION. Wherein is largely discussed the question whether a Catholicke or any other person before a magistrate, being demanded upon his Oath whether a Prieste were in such a place, may (notwithstanding his perfect knowledge to the contrary) without Perjury, ...
— Notes and Queries, Number 81, May 17, 1851 • Various

... not looked at Andres, Militona was guilty of a slight equivocation. She had not looked at him, perhaps, for women can see without looking, but she could have given a most minute description of his person. And out of respect to truth, we must here mention that she took Don Andres de ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 62, No. 382, October 1847 • Various

... only been a heretic, like Egremont!" said Morley. Sybil burst into tears. Morley sprang to her. "Swear by the holy Virgin, swear by all the saints, swear by your hope of heaven and by your own sweet name; without equivocation, without reserve, with fulness and with truth, that you will never give your heart or hand to Egremont;—and I will ...
— Sybil - or the Two Nations • Benjamin Disraeli

... of her husband's affection. She thought it must have been the other sister, now in India, and that this gave the key to many allusions she had heard and which she marvelled at herself for not having understood. The equivocation had entirely deceived her, and she little thought she had been taking counsel with the rival who was secretly triumphing in Raymond's involuntary constancy, and sowing seeds of vengeance against ...
— The Three Brides • Charlotte M. Yonge

... be able to persuade yourself that it is entirely free from sin. The injury, too, to our neighbour, of a direct lie, can be so much more easily guarded against, that, for the sake of others, I am far more earnest in warning you against equivocation than against decided falsehood. It is sadly difficult for the injured person to ward off the effects of a deceitful glance, a misleading action, an artful insinuation. No earthly defence is of any avail here, as the sorrows of many a wounded ...
— The Young Lady's Mentor - A Guide to the Formation of Character. In a Series of Letters to Her Unknown Friends • A Lady

... the beetleheadedness of a domestic, or Baboo JALPANYBHOY'S incompetency in the art of equivocation, I am not to say—but the sequel of her inquiries was the unshakable conviction that I had not struck root in the habitation from which ...
— Baboo Jabberjee, B.A. • F. Anstey

... but, nevertheless, I shall prove, by quotations, that the whole theory of our author is based upon this paltry equivocation. ...
— What is Property? - An Inquiry into the Principle of Right and of Government • P. J. Proudhon

... account of his conduct and faith. Having succeeded in diverting suspicions about his orthodoxy, he returned to Bosnia, where he gave out that the Pope was well satisfied with his profession of faith,—a slight equivocation, which will hardly bear an enquiry,—and thus induced many more to join the Patarenes. Hearing of this, the Pope requested the King of Hungary to compel Kulin to eject them from the country, at the same time ordering Bernard, ...
— Herzegovina - Or, Omer Pacha and the Christian Rebels • George Arbuthnot

... satisfied, when they engaged the contending parties to use the same words and phrases, though their real difference in opinion remained the same. This could not be justified: it tended evidently to extinguish truth and honour, and to introduce equivocation. ...
— The Life of Hugo Grotius • Charles Butler

... whom they owed vast sums, exhilarated by the exuberant spirits and youthful freshness of her guests, declared that the sight of "them young things" did her good, and had even been known to shield them by shameless equivocation. ...
— Selected Stories • Bret Harte

... "What disgusting equivocation," Miss Trevor interrupted. "He asked me point blank to marry him, and of course I consented. He has never mentioned to me that he wished to break the engagement, and I ...
— The Crossing • Winston Churchill

... whether Hepsie could be had, but he meant to have her if she was not already at work somewhere else. He listened to the directions and promised without equivocation that Hepsie would come. He understood that for some reason the thing Elizabeth asked of him she could ask of him alone, but was careful to couch his replies so that that fact was not indicated even ...
— The Wind Before the Dawn • Dell H. Munger

... represents God as being too dependent on circumstances. When we realize that Christ died not only for "all," but for "every man"; and when we realize that the invitations of mercy are extended to "every man," without equivocation, it does seem to me something like a failure of the divine plan if ...
— Love's Final Victory • Horatio

... staff understands me] This equivocation, miserable as it is, has been admitted by Milton in his ...
— Johnson's Notes to Shakespeare Vol. I Comedies • Samuel Johnson

... perfectly frank and exact with those to whom I make known the state of my soul. [4] Even my first impulses I wish them to know; and as for doubtful and suspicious matters, I used to make the most of them by arguing against myself. Thus, then, without equivocation or concealment, I laid before him the state of my soul. I saw almost at once that he understood me, by reason of his own experience. That was all I required; for at that time I did not know myself ...
— The Life of St. Teresa of Jesus • Teresa of Avila

... supreme excellence, than when he seems fully resolved to sink them in dejection, and mollify them with tender emotions by the fall of greatness, the danger of innocence, or the crosses of love. He is not long soft and pathetick without some idle conceit, or contemptible equivocation. He no sooner begins to move, than he counteracts himself; and terrour and pity, as they are rising in the mind, are checked and blasted by ...
— Preface to Shakespeare • Samuel Johnson

... impertinent to inquire too curiously. The religion of a man is not to be paraded before the public like the manifesto of a party politician. After all, is there a single man who can sincerely, without equivocation or mental reservation, label himself Calvinist, Arminian, Socinian, or Pelagian? If there be, his mind must be a marvel of mathematical nicety and nothing more. All that we need know of Burns is that he was naturally and sincerely religious; that he worshipped an all-loving ...
— Robert Burns - Famous Scots Series • Gabriel Setoun

... not act upon a question which admits of doubt. We have passed along in our career for so many years that we have arrived at a point when we must understand each other distinctly and unequivocally, and I will not leave a single point open to equivocation. It must be expressly settled, and settled not only in express words, not only in unmistakable language; but I go further than that; it must emanate from the hearts of a people disposed to stand by it; and if they will not stand by it, I will not ...
— A Report of the Debates and Proceedings in the Secret Sessions of the Conference Convention • Lucius Eugene Chittenden

... he soon found that people who were not in the secret were attributing it to him. That would never do; so he set to work to repudiate it. The friends that knew he exhorted to know nothing; the rest he endeavoured to persuade that he was not the author, using many forms of equivocation. He rises to his greatest heights in addressing cardinals. To Campegio, then in London, he writes on ...
— The Age of Erasmus - Lectures Delivered in the Universities of Oxford and London • P. S. Allen

... And again, having been in the habit of hearing all sorts of reflections on the "Irish," whom some mad abolitionists would gladly enslave in place of the blacks, poor Judy thought to save Alia from the mortification of finding herself "Irish," by her equivocation and falsehood. ...
— The Cross and the Shamrock • Hugh Quigley

... would go to the fountain-head. I would call forthwith upon the General himself, and demand, in explicit terms, a solution of this abominable piece of mystery. Here, at least, there should be no chance for equivocation. I would be plain, positive, peremptory—as short as pie-crust—as concise ...
— The Works of Edgar Allan Poe - Volume 4 (of 5) of the Raven Edition • Edgar Allan Poe

... country that he had changed his mind, as Peel had changed his mind about the catholic question and about free trade, and as Mr. Disraeli was to change his mind upon franchise in 1867, and Mr. Gladstone upon the Irish church in 1868. Instead of this, all was equivocation. The Derbyite, as was well said, was protectionist in a county, neutral in a small town, free trader in a large one. He was for Maynooth in Ireland, and against it in Scotland. Mr. Disraeli did his best to mystify the agricultural ...
— The Life of William Ewart Gladstone, Vol. 1 (of 3) - 1809-1859 • John Morley

... be true," he went on. "Have courage and be ugly. If you like bad music, then say so frankly. Show yourselves, see yourselves as you are. Kid your souls of the loathsome burden of all your compromise and equivocation. Wash it in pure water. How long is it since you have seen. yourselves in a mirror? I will show you yourselves. Composers, virtuosi, conductors, singers, and you, dear public. You shall for once know yourselves.... Be what you like: but, ...
— Jean-Christophe, Vol. I • Romain Rolland

... i' faith, my lord, with lees would serve his turn. "Your sad imprisonment I 'll soon uncharm, And with a princely uncontrolled arm Lead you to Florence, where my love and care Shall hang your wishes in my silver hair." A halter on his strange equivocation! "Nor for my years return me the sad willow; Who prefer blossoms before fruit that 's mellow?" Rotten, on my knowledge, with lying too long i' th' bedstraw. "And all the lines of age this line convinces; The gods never wax old, no more do ...
— The White Devil • John Webster

... this highwayman, were sagacious enough to discern something very villainous in his aspect; which (begging their pardon) is the very picture of simplicity; and the justice himself put a very unfavourable construction upon some of his answers, which, he said, savoured of the ambiguity and equivocation of an old offender; but, in my opinion, it would have been more just and humane to impute them to the confusion into which we may suppose a poor country lad to be thrown on such an occasion. I am still persuaded he is innocent; and, in this persuasion, I can do ...
— The Expedition of Humphry Clinker • Tobias Smollett

... trained, and so early taught the difference between right and wrong, that she could not look upon her prize without being reminded of the temptation to which she had so suddenly yielded, and the equivocation to which she had resorted in order to ...
— Ruth Arnold - or, the Country Cousin • Lucy Byerley

... exceeded the truth. His equivocation was not manly, and Ayres was deceived by it into the inference of a reason for his dismissal foreign ...
— Words for the Wise • T. S. Arthur

... unrecognizable form. But in far the plurality of instances the two parts of the plant's treasury are easily distinguishable, and must be separately studied, whatever their apparent closeness of relation, or, (as in all natural things,) the equivocation sometimes taking place between the one and the other. To me, the especially curious point in this matter is that, while I find the most elaborate accounts given by botanists of the stages of growth in each of these parts of the treasury, they never say of what use ...
— Proserpina, Volume 1 - Studies Of Wayside Flowers • John Ruskin

... authority, "let us have no equivocation; do you refuse, yes or no, to marry Monsieur ...
— The Lesser Bourgeoisie • Honore de Balzac

... identity—if she knew it—she had been careful to conceal in the unsigned note to Mr. Galbraith? Broffin read the note again—"a deck-hand, whose name on the mate's book is John Wesley Gavitt," was the description she had given. It might, or it might not, be an equivocation; but the longer Broffin dwelt upon it the more he leaned toward the conclusion to which his theory and the few known facts pointed. The young woman knew the man in his proper person; she had been reluctant to betray him—that, he decided, was sufficiently proved ...
— The Price • Francis Lynde

... about this consistory without other assistance. But because on earth it is taught in your schools that the angelic nature is such that it understands, and remembers, and wills, I will speak further, in order that thou mayest see the truth pure, which there below is mixed, through the equivocation in such like teaching. These substances, from the time that they were glad in the face of God, have not turned their sight from it, from which nothing is concealed. Therefore they have not their vision interrupted by a new object, and ...
— The Divine Comedy, Volume 3, Paradise [Paradiso] • Dante Alighieri

... Essex, in the year 1738, that three horses (and no more than three) started for a L10 plate, and they were all three distanced the first heat, according to the common rules in horse-racing, without any quibble or equivocation; and the following was the solution:—The first horse ran on the inside of the post; the second wanted weight; and the third ...
— The Gaming Table: Its Votaries and Victims - Volume II (of II) • Andrew Steinmetz

... with the leading idea of the play, and sufficiently absorbed in its progress, at the end of the second act, to permit Lady Dolly to capture him before it occurred to him that he had the use of his legs. Her enthusiasm was so great that it reduced him to something like equivocation. She wanted to know if anything could be more splendid than Mr. Bradley as Lord Ingleton; she confided to Stephen that that was what she called real wickedness, the kind that did the most harm, and invited him, by inference, to a liberal judgment ...
— Hilda - A Story of Calcutta • Sara Jeannette Duncan

... punning invective, whence, perhaps, nicknames have in a considerable degree sprung up;—or it is the language of suppressed passion, and especially of a hardly smothered personal dislike. The first and last of these combine in Hamlet's case; and I have little doubt that Farmer is right in supposing the equivocation carried on in the expression "too much ...
— Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher • S. T. Coleridge

... FRIEND—It will give you pleasure to hear that my father is likely to get his business speedily settled without any equivocation; and that all those prudential considerations which brought us to London were but the phantasms of our own inexperience. I use the plural, for I really share in the shame of having called in question the ...
— The Ayrshire Legatees • John Galt

... sidereal astronomy, of which so little is yet known, I trust it will not be an intrusion to tell you of a new, extraordinary, and very unexpected fact, in the complete occultation of one "fixed" star by another, under circumstances which admit of no possible doubt or equivocation. ...
— Personal Recollections, from Early Life to Old Age, of Mary Somerville • Mary Somerville

... upon his knees, and gazed upon the Chevalier with an expression of countenance that plainly indicated the terror which froze his blood, and rendered him speechless—for the position in which he and the Duchess had been detected, would, he well knew, admit of no explanation—no equivocation. ...
— Venus in Boston; - A Romance of City Life • George Thompson

... and the light of the moon, that discovered the lock of the trap-door to thee? Tell me, audacious boy, who thou art, and how long thou hast been acquainted with the Princess—and take care to answer with less equivocation than thou didst last night, or tortures shall wring the truth ...
— The Castle of Otranto • Horace Walpole

... no more than I suspect now," was his easy equivocation. "And all that I suspect now is that some petty enemy is ...
— The Historical Nights' Entertainment • Rafael Sabatini

... find evasions for any purpose in a trickster's minute tortuosities of construction—exactly in the opposite direction, from mere excess of sincerity, most unwillingly I found, in almost every body's words, an unintentional opening left for double interpretations. Undesigned equivocation prevails every where; [10] and it is not the cavilling hair splitter, but, on the contrary, the single-eyed servant of truth, that is most likely to insist upon the limitation of expressions too wide or too vague, and upon the decisive election between meanings ...
— Autobiographic Sketches • Thomas de Quincey

... its own meaning and here boycott has its own meaning. I not only do not disapprove but approve of the boycott of the councils that are going to be formed next year. And why do I do it? The people—the masses,—require from us, the leaders, a clear lead. They do not want any equivocation from us. The suggestion that we should seek election and then refuse to take the oath of allegiance, would only make the nation distrust the leaders. It is not a clear lead to the nation. So I say to you, my countrymen, not to fall into this trap. We shall sell our ...
— Freedom's Battle - Being a Comprehensive Collection of Writings and Speeches on the Present Situation • Mahatma Gandhi

... put on our guard against this species of deceit in the highest matters, by observing how readily we glide into it, in things of smaller moment. Deceits of every shade, from the lie direct to the most attenuated equivocation, spring in the complicated intercourse of modern society, like weeds in a moist summer on a fallow field. Assuredly, unless our hand be diligent in digging out these bitter roots, we shall not grow rich in the graces of the Spirit. You are invited to a neighbour's house: you ...
— The Parables of Our Lord • William Arnot

... note was transmitted to that country, Germany has given us no single reasonable cause of complaint." The Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal believes the German reply would carry more weight and persuasion "if it could be considered wholly and apart as an ex parte statement." "Without equivocation and with a politeness of offensively insinuating," the Boston Transcript concludes, "Germany rejects each and all of our demands and attempts to bargain with ...
— New York Times Current History; The European War, Vol 2, No. 5, August, 1915 • Various

... was corrupted. The infection spread to the national conscience. Political double-dealings naturally grew out of verbal double meanings. The teeth of the new dragon were sown by the Cadmus who introduced the alphabet of equivocation. What was levity in the time of the Tudors grew to regicide and revolution in the age of ...
— The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (The Physician and Poet not the Jurist)

... If thou speak'st false. Upon the next tree shalt thou hang alive, Till famine cling thee: if thy speech be sooth, I care not if thou dost for me as much.— I pull in resolution; and begin To doubt th' equivocation of the fiend, That lies like truth: "Fear not till Birnam wood Do come to Dunsinane," and now ...
— The Works of Samuel Johnson in Nine Volumes - Volume V: Miscellaneous Pieces • Samuel Johnson

... of her noble husband. She had been sacrificed, and now pitilessly did she sacrifice her husband to her lover. She saw but one duty before her—to reward the love of the man she adored with boundless devotion. No concealment, no disguise would she allow. Any attempt at equivocation she regarded as an act of treason to the great and holy feeling which possessed ...
— The Merchant of Berlin - An Historical Novel • L. Muhlbach

... preceded him and he saw that trouble was brewing. Jesse Brown wagged his head in a deprecating way and tried to side-step the entire situation. But Peter had reached a point where he was tired of equivocation. ...
— The Vagrant Duke • George Gibbs

... it is true, was already in progress; and for that the gentleman had also voted. But there were, and are now, peculiarities about that particular expenditure which sometimes satisfy scrupulous consciences; but this bill of the gentleman's, without equivocation or saving clause, without if, or and, or but, occupied the whole ground at once, and announced internal improvement as one of the objects of this government, on a grand and systematic plan. The bill, Sir, seemed indeed too strong. It was thought by persons not esteemed extremely ...
— The Great Speeches and Orations of Daniel Webster • Daniel Webster

... language of national jurisprudence that can define it—no model in the records of ancient history, or in the political theories of Aristotle, with which it can be likened. It was introduced into the Constitution of the United States by an equivocation—a representation of property under the name of persons. Little did the members of the Convention from the free States foresee what a sacrifice to Moloch was hidden under the mask of this concession.'—'The House ...
— The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Omnibus • American Anti-Slavery Society

... contented, will only succeed in producing a South Africa which is poor and discontented. Those, too, who wish well for South Africa and are at the same time sympathizers of the present Government, let them also strive to induce the Ministry to cease its policy of dilly-dallying and of equivocation at the expense of the coloured tax-payers. So that the Dutch throughout South Africa, as did the Dutch of Cape Colony, under the able leadership of Jan Hendrik Hofmeyr, may pursue a fresh course — the course of political righteousness. When the Labour ...
— Native Life in South Africa, Before and Since • Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje

... This elaborate equivocation, which had all the force of an assertion, was Chase all over! Three other ministers agreed with him except that they did not equivocate. One evaded. Of all those who had stood with Seward on the sixteenth, only one was still in favor of evacuation. Seward stood fast. This reversal of the Cabinet's ...
— Lincoln • Nathaniel Wright Stephenson

... "Answer me, senor, without equivocation; did, or did not this man, of whom we are now speaking, die as the result of your hellish torments?" rapped out George, suddenly becoming exasperated and heavily smiting the table with his ...
— The Cruise of the Nonsuch Buccaneer • Harry Collingwood

... abuse us. Do you think that herbs or charms Can force the will? Some trials have been made In this foolish practice, but the ingredients Were lenitive poisons, such as are of force To make the patient mad; and straight the witch Swears by equivocation they are in love. The witch-craft lies in her rank blood. This night I will force confession from her. You told me You had got, within these two days, a ...
— The Duchess of Malfi • John Webster

... in common, but the second is the greater work of art, and indicates more fairly the scope and vigor of the author's mind. It is written in the same pure, hardy style, strong with Saxon words that admit of no equivocation or misunderstanding; it is illustrated with sketches of outward Nature and tranquil rural beauty, none the less vivid or truthful that they are drawn with the pen rather than the brush; and it is ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 5, No. 32, June, 1860 • Various

... so mongrel in breed as the English, there is a fatal power of equivocation put into men's hands, almost whether they will or no, in being able to use Greek or Latin words for an idea when they want it to be awful; and Saxon or otherwise common words when they want it to be vulgar. What a singular and ...
— Harvard Classics Volume 28 - Essays English and American • Various

... foundations of religion and morality have been so boldly attacked, it seems necessary, in announcing a work of this nature, to be particularly explicit as to the path which the editor means to pursue. He, therefore, avows himself to be, without equivocation or reserve, the ardent friend and the willing champion of the Christian religion. Christian piety he reveres as the highest excellence of human beings, and the amplest reward he can seek for his labour is the consciousness of having, in some degree, however inconsiderable, contributed to recommend ...
— The Philadelphia Magazines and their Contributors 1741-1850 • Albert Smyth

... honour of Pausanias, and for our weight with the allies, to hearken to the Ionian Embassy. It is a grave question, therefore, whether we should recall the Regent or refuse to hear these charges. Thou art fresh from Byzantium; thou must know more of this matter than we. Loose thy tongue, put aside equivocation. Say thy mind, it is for us to decide afterwards what is our duty to ...
— Pausanias, the Spartan - The Haunted and the Haunters, An Unfinished Historical Romance • Lord Lytton

... may trust Herodotus, was careful to avoid debt. He had a keen sense of the difficulty with which a debtor escapes subterfuge and equivocation—forms, slightly disguised, of lying. To buy and sell wares in a market place, to chaffer and haggle over prices, was distasteful to him, as apt to involve falsity and unfairness. He was free and open in speech, ...
— The Seven Great Monarchies Of The Ancient Eastern World, Vol 5. (of 7): Persia • George Rawlinson

... Starbottle has a fault, it is frankness, sir. As Nelse Buckthorne said to me in Nashville, in '47, "You would infer, Col. Starbottle, that I equivocate." I replied, "I do, sir; and permit me to add that equivocation has all the guilt of a lie, with cowardice superadded." The next morning at nine o'clock, Ged, sir, he gasped to me—he was lying on the ground, hole through his left lung just here (illustrating with DON JOSE'S coat),—he gasped, "If you have a merit, Star, above others, ...
— Two Men of Sandy Bar - A Drama • Bret Harte

... living; the dead should be sacred. The contradictory promptings, not always crooked; the double constructions possible to men's actions; the intermingling of ambition and patriotism beneath the lash of party spirit; often wrong unconscious of itself; sometimes equivocation deceiving itself—in short, the tangled web of good and ill inseparable from great affairs of loss and gain made debatable ground for every step of the ...
— Marse Henry, Complete - An Autobiography • Henry Watterson

... under other circumstances might have met this imperative mode of questioning by dogged silence, or an evasive answer, was too uncertain as to what the doctor himself might have repeated to Jeanne-Marie, to attempt equivocation. ...
— My Little Lady • Eleanor Frances Poynter

... paus'd upon the sudden, And with a serious forehead plodding, Sprung a new scruple his head, Which first he scratch'd, and after said — Whether it be direct infringing 55 An oath, if I should wave this swingeing, And what I've sworn to bear, forbear, And so b' equivocation swear, Or whether it be a lesser sin To be forsworn than act the thing, 60 Are deep and subtle points, which must, T' inform my conscience, be discust; In which to err a tittle may To errors infinite make way; And therefore I desire to know 65 Thy ...
— Hudibras • Samuel Butler

... as diplomacy, expediency, and moral reservation; and, under one guise or another, it is found more or less pervading all classes of society. Sometimes it assumes the form of equivocation or moral dodging—twisting and so stating the things said as to convey a false impression—a kind of lying which a Frenchman once described as "walking round about ...
— Character • Samuel Smiles

... eyes, and addressed him alone. Twice he asked me questions, in so kindly a manner as to win instant reply, and once he checked Cassion when he attempted to interrupt, his voice stern with authority. I told the story simply, plainly, with no attempt at equivocation, and when I ceased speaking the room was as silent as a tomb. De Baugis sat motionless, but Cassion stared at me across the table, his face dark ...
— Beyond the Frontier • Randall Parrish

... downright beggars. Ay, Without equivocation, statute beggars, Couchant and passant, guardant, rampant beggars; Current and vagrant, stockant, ...
— Rookwood • William Harrison Ainsworth

... still more the propriety of insisting upon the instant punishment of the offenders, since the utmost that could be done at once was to institute judicial proceedings, which was the exclusive function of the State of Louisiana. The Italian public thought this equivocation, mean truckling to the American prejudice against Italians. Baron Fava, Italian Minister at Washington, was ordered to "affirm the inutility of his presence near a government that had no power to guarantee such justice as in Italy is administered equally in favor of citizens of all ...
— History of the United States, Volume 5 • E. Benjamin Andrews

... surely as Man is determined to warp any of her blessings into curses, shall they become curses, and shall he suffer heavily. But, this is cant. Just as it is cant of the worst description to say to the London Corporation, 'How can you exhibit to the people so plain a spectacle of dishonest equivocation, as to claim the right of holding a market in the midst of the great city, for one of your vested privileges, when you know that when your last market holding charter was granted to you by King Charles the First, Smithfield stood IN THE SUBURBS ...
— Reprinted Pieces • Charles Dickens

... of which he was overseer an example of strict probity; that he had repeatedly sworn allegiance to the House of Brunswick; that he had assisted in placing the crown on the head of George I., and that he had abjured James III., "without equivocation or mental reservation, on the ...
— The Miscellaneous Writings and Speeches of Lord Macaulay, Vol. 3. (of 4) • Thomas Babington Macaulay

... the knave is! We must speak by the card, or equivocation will undo us. By the Lord, Horatio, these three years I have taken note of it, the age is grown so picked that the toe of the peasant comes so near the heel of the courtier he galls his kibe.—How long ...
— Hamlet, Prince of Denmark • William Shakespeare [Collins edition]

... night between the 19th and 20th of January, 1771, musketeers knocked at the doors of all the magistrates; they were awakened in the king's name, at the same time being ordered to say whether they would consent to resume their service. No equivocation possible! No margin for those developments of their ideas which are so dear to parliamentary minds! It was a matter of signing yes or no. Surprised in their slumbers, but still firm in their resolution of resistance, the majority of the magistrates signed no. ...
— A Popular History of France From The Earliest Times - Volume VI. of VI. • Francois Pierre Guillaume Guizot

... coming in at the moment to bring me some soda water, looked at his mistress with an expression of amazement and horror, which told me that he now saw Mrs. Roylake in the smoking-room for the first time. I involved myself in new clouds. If I suffocated my stepmother, her own polite equivocation would justify the act. She settled herself opposite to me in an armchair. The agonies that she must have suffered, in preventing her face from expressing emotions of disgust, I dare not attempt to imagine, even at this ...
— The Guilty River • Wilkie Collins

... of equivocation and delay ineffectual, the Araucanians flew to arms, and having united to the number of five hundred men under the toqui Curignancu, they proceeded to besiege Cabrito in his camp. Burgoa, who had been made prisoner and very roughly treated, was set at liberty in consequence ...
— A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Vol. 5 • Robert Kerr

... absence of reasoning.] [False or vicious reasoning; show of reason.] — N. intuition, instinct, association, hunch, gut feeling; presentiment, premonition; rule of thumb; superstition; astrology^; faith (supposition) 514. sophistry, paralogy^, perversion, casuistry, jesuitry, equivocation, evasion; chicane, chicanery; quiddet^, quiddity; mystification; special pleading; speciousness &c adj.; nonsense &c 497; word sense, tongue sense. false reasoning, vicious reasoning, circular reasoning; petitio principii ...
— Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases: Body • Roget

... sea. "What shall I do?" I asked myself, and my heart was weary and hopeless. Literature? my heart did not answer the question at once. I was too broken and overcome by the shock of failure; failure precise and stern, admitting of no equivocation. I strove to read: but it was impossible to sit at home almost within earshot of the studio, and with all the memories of defeat still ringing their knells in my heart. Marshall's success clamoured loudly from without; every day, almost every hour of the day, I heard of the medals which he ...
— Confessions of a Young Man • George Moore

... the nervous child must grow up to respect; one is authority and the other is the rights and privileges of his associates. The nervous child needs early to learn to reach a conclusion and to render a decision—to render a decision without equivocation—to move forward in obedience to that decision without quibbling and without question; that is the thing the nervous man and woman must learn in connection with the later conquest of their own nerves; and a foundation for such a mastery of one's unruly nerves is ...
— The Mother and Her Child • William S. Sadler

... at denial or equivocation. He knew that this would be useless. He waited for an opportunity to excuse himself, and to explain rather than to deny. But every answer of his only served to increase the fury of Girasole, who seemed determined to visit upon the head ...
— The American Baron • James De Mille

... delicacy which easily becomes prudish and insincere. It is a direct move in favor of vulgar thinking to misname anything which involves the intimacies of life, or to do other than look it squarely in the eye, when necessity demands, without shuffling or equivocation. On this principle it is worth while to meet the problem of a disease like syphilis with an open countenance and straightforward honesty of expression. It puts firm ground under our feet to talk about it in the impersonal way in which we talk about colds and pneumonia and bunions ...
— The Third Great Plague - A Discussion of Syphilis for Everyday People • John H. Stokes

... in thy senses, Annette?' said Madame Montoni; 'or is this a trick to deceive me? Tell me, this instant, what Ludovico DID say to thee;—no equivocation;—this instant.' ...
— The Mysteries of Udolpho • Ann Radcliffe

... certain amount, be prevented from depositing his ballot on the application of a candidate? That by such a bye-law he may be disfranchised of his vote in electing officers, or of the right to hold office, will be freely admitted. But the words of the old regulation seem expressly, and without equivocation, to require that every member present shall vote. The candidate shall only be admitted "by the unanimous consent of all the members of that lodge then present when the candidate is proposed." This right of the members to elect or reject their candidates is subsequently called "an inherent privilege," ...
— The Principles of Masonic Law - A Treatise on the Constitutional Laws, Usages And Landmarks of - Freemasonry • Albert G. Mackey

... weakly, he will rob my support of its effectiveness. Speeches such as those of mine, to which you kindly allude, have their merit only if delivered for a man who is himself speaking uncompromisingly and without equivocation. I have just sent word to Hughes through one of our big New York financiers to make a smashing attack on Wilson for his actions, and to do it immediately, in connection with this Democratic Nominating ...
— Theodore Roosevelt; An Intimate Biography, • William Roscoe Thayer

... "No equivocation, I repeat. You are perfectly aware that, as head of the nobility of France, I am accountable to all for the honor of every family: you dismiss Mademoiselle de la Valliere, or whoever else it may ...
— The Vicomte de Bragelonne - Or Ten Years Later being the completion of "The Three - Musketeers" And "Twenty Years After" • Alexandre Dumas

... had a stormy interview with Berkins going up in the train, and Berkins had so upset him that he had not been able to get through any business in the City. Berkins admitted of no equivocation. He had told him that he would not allow the young lady that was going to be his wife to spend her days feasting and skylarking with a lot of vulgar and penniless young men from the Southdown Road. He had declared that it was time to settle definitely the terms and the day of the ...
— Spring Days • George Moore

... this specimen of what Pope somewhere calls "pretty genteel equivocation." He was reconciled to Pope, and taught the poor poet by experience that his friendship was worse than his enmity. He wrote him letters of criticism; he forced poor Pope to negotiate for him with managers and to bring distinguished friends to ...
— Alexander Pope - English Men of Letters Series • Leslie Stephen

... attitude of a reprover—that God had disowned him before men and left him unscreened to the triumphant scorn of those who were glad to have their hatred justified—the sense of utter futility in that equivocation with his conscience in dealing with the life of his accomplice, an equivocation which now turned venomously upon him with the full-grown fang of a discovered lie:—all this rushed through him like the agony of terror which fails ...
— Middlemarch • George Eliot

... all the Glories of my Sex, and all that Nicety I've hitherto preserv'd.' There needed no more from a Maid of Isabella's Integrity and Reputation, to convince any one of the Sincerity of what she said, since, in the whole course of her Life, she never could be charg'd with an Untruth, or an Equivocation; and Katteriena assur'd her, she believ'd her, and was infinitely glad she had vanquish'd a Passion, that would have prov'd destructive to her Repose: Isabella reply'd, She had not altogether vanquish'd her Passion, she did not boast of so absolute a power over her soft Nature, but had resolv'd ...
— The Works of Aphra Behn - Volume V • Aphra Behn

... he felt a sort of fear of the incalculable processes and changes in this woman's mind. Would she be angry if he said, he had thought she loved him? Would she be sure to recognize any equivocation, ...
— Hetty's Strange History • Anonymous

... that accompanied Steve's words was gently disarming. There was no equivocation. It was impossible for the boy to misread what he said. The capitulation had not waited for the passionate challenge Marcel had been ...
— The Heart of Unaga • Ridgwell Cullum

... magnificence. As he stood on the scaffold in the cold morning air, he foiled James and Philip at one thrust, and conquered the esteem of all posterity. It is only now, after two centuries and a half, that history is beginning to hint that there was not a little special pleading and some excusable equivocation in this great apology which rang through monarchical England like the blast of a clarion, and which echoed in secret places till the oppressed rose up ...
— Raleigh • Edmund Gosse

... trivial, is equally an offence against the law of the infinite God with the most terrible crime, and equally merits an infinite punishment. Thus, by a metaphysical quibble, the very basis of morals is overturned, and the child guilty of an equivocation through fear is put on a level with the pirate guilty of robbery and murder through cold blooded avarice and hate. In a hell where all are plunged in physical fire for eternity there are no degrees ...
— The Destiny of the Soul - A Critical History of the Doctrine of a Future Life • William Rounseville Alger

... my former condition; but to explain in what manner this bundle was lost, and how my intercourse with Clavering had taken place, was to violate this promise. It was possible, perhaps, to escape the confession of the truth by equivocation. Falsehoods were easily invented, and might lead her far away from my true condition; but I was wholly unused to equivocation. Never yet had a lie polluted my lips. I was not weak enough to be ashamed of my origin. This lady had an interest in the fate of Clavering, and might justly ...
— Arthur Mervyn - Or, Memoirs of the Year 1793 • Charles Brockden Brown

... cock-fighting, and other like vulgar expressions of the sporting temper. Whatever the latest authenticated schedule of detail proprieties may say, the accredited canons of decency sanctioned by the institution say without equivocation that emulation and waste are good and their opposites are disreputable. In the crepuscular light of the social nether spaces the details of the code are not apprehended with all the facility that might be desired, and these broad ...
— The Theory of the Leisure Class • Thorstein Veblen

... circumstances were such as to render you that assistance you so much need; would that I could raise you from such unendurable misery! But to speak without equivocation, my condition is as ...
— My Life: or the Adventures of Geo. Thompson - Being the Auto-Biography of an Author. Written by Himself. • George Thompson

... Justices at their next sittings, who forthwith summoned Jack before them to know why he refused performance of his contract with the Squire. Jack came on the day appointed, attended by the attorney—though for that matter he might have safely left him behind, being fully as much master of all equivocation or chicanery as if he had never handled anything but quills and quirks from his youth upward. This, indeed, was probably the effect of his old training in Peter's family, for whose hairsplitting distinctions and Jesuistical ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, No. CCCXXIX. - March, 1843, Vol. LIII. • Various

... displayed perhaps too much eagerness in doing so. Certain it is, that when the danger was past and the quietude of the country was restored, Leofric, on applying for the restitution of these "holy relics," found some difficulty in obtaining them; for the Abbot of Ely attempted by equivocation and duplicity to retain them. After several ineffectual applications, Leofric was compelled, for the honor of his monastery, to declare the "pious fraud" he had practised; which he proved by the testimony of several monks ...
— Bibliomania in the Middle Ages • Frederick Somner Merryweather

... blending of past, present, and future. All my pet pens are rusty, and must be replaced from the box of stubs, for a stub pen assists one to straightforward, truthful expression, while a fine point suggests evasion, polite equivocation, or thin ideas. Even Lavinia Dorman's letters, whose cream-white envelopes, with a curlicue monogram on the flap, quite cover the litter below, have been, if possible, more satisfactory since she has adopted a fountain stub that Evan ...
— People of the Whirlpool • Mabel Osgood Wright

... the first place, may I take the liberty of asking where you have concealed my daughter? I will have no equivocation, sir," he added, raising his voice—"no evasion, no falsehood, but in one plain word, or in as many as may be barely necessary, say where you have ...
— The Black Baronet; or, The Chronicles Of Ballytrain - The Works of William Carleton, Volume One • William Carleton

... know; and she knew that I knew it. To my shame be it said that I was weak enough to yield to an equivocation which I now see to have been disloyal, but which I then pretended to have been no more than delicacy to Ottilie. As, in point of fact, there had never been a word passed between us respecting our mutual feelings, ...
— The Lock and Key Library • Julian Hawthorne, Ed.

... words, logomachy, equivocation; theft could not be committed at Sparta, when everything was common property. What you call "theft" was ...
— Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary • Voltaire

... An equivocation of names also, probably, aided in originating the story. The island of Cyprus is surrounded with promontories which rise out of the sea, and whose pointed rocks appear at a distance like horns, from which it had the name of Cerastis, the Greek word keras, signifying a 'horn.' ...
— The Metamorphoses of Ovid - Literally Translated into English Prose, with Copious Notes - and Explanations • Publius Ovidius Naso

... small proceedings since he went away, or to relate the conclusions of half-accomplished projects. Cynthia was often on the point of some gay, careless inquiry as to where he had been, and what he had been doing; but Molly, who conjectured the truth, as often interfered to spare him the pain of equivocation—a pain that her tender conscience would have felt for him, much more than he would have felt ...
— Wives and Daughters • Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

... without bothering himself about its influence upon the lives of the vulgar populace. But he was neither humanist nor schoolman. He had a conscience which made indifference impossible, and a simplicity and directness of vision which compelled him to brush aside all equivocation and go straight to the heart of things. With it all he was at once a devout and believing son of the Church, and a practical preacher profoundly concerned for the spiritual and moral welfare of the common people." (p. 66f. 87.) Had Luther considered his personal ...
— Luther Examined and Reexamined - A Review of Catholic Criticism and a Plea for Revaluation • W. H. T. Dau

... regard for the friendship of England,—if it has any hope that, in the hour of peril or of adversity, that protection which has more than once saved it from destruction, will be extended to it again, it must renounce absolutely, and without equivocation, the barbarous practice which has called forth the remonstrance now addressed to it. Your Excellency will require an early answer; and you will let the Turkish Ministers understand that if that answer does not fully correspond with the expectations which Her Majesty's Government entertain, ...
— Correspondence Relating to Executions in Turkey for Apostacy from Islamism • Various

... first love, the forsaken Lady Julia. She putting in (as one may say) a good word for herself, said she knew Julia; as well she might, being herself the Julia of whom she spoke; telling how fondly Julia loved her master, Proteus, and how his unkind neglect would grieve her. And then she with a pretty equivocation went on: "Julia is about my height, and of my complexion, the color of her eyes and hair the same as mine." And indeed Julia looked a most beautiful youth in ...
— Tales from Shakespeare • Charles and Mary Lamb

... of the 'house' into the hands of the executive power, especially as the head-master might pursue Queen Anne's policy under the Tory ministers—and, by introducing the fencing-master—the dancing-master—the riding-master, &c. under the unconstitutional equivocation of the word 'teachers,' carry a favourite measure in the teeth of the patriotic party. Hitherto however the reigning sovereign has shown so laudable a desire to strengthen those checks upon his own authority which make him a limited monarch—that 'only one ...
— The Uncollected Writings of Thomas de Quincey—Vol. 1 - With a Preface and Annotations by James Hogg • Thomas de Quincey

... you can, sir," said Jasper, in tones that were almost meek; "you, at least, can say nothing that I will not bear. But I am in my right when I ask you to tell me, without equivocation or reserve, if Sophy, though not actually within these walls, be near you, in this town or its neighbourhood?—in ...
— What Will He Do With It, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... disguised what he knows to be the facts about rent, I would ask him as one of the leading members of the Jamaica Committee, which is the greater crime, boldly to sign warrant for the sudden death of one man, known to be an agitator, in the immediate outbreak of such agitation, or, by equivocation in a scientific work, to sign warrants for the deaths of thousands of men in slow misery, for fear of an agitation which has not begun; and if begun, would be carried on by debate, not ...
— Time and Tide by Weare and Tyne - Twenty-five Letters to a Working Man of Sunderland on the Laws of Work • John Ruskin

... not one a right to conceal facts which another has no right to know?* In such a case, concealment is undoubtedly a right; but falsehood, or equivocation, or truth which will convey a false impression, is not a right. This question has not unfrequently arisen with regard to anonymous publications. It might be a fair subject of inquiry, whether anonymous writing is not in all cases objectionable, on the ground that a sense of personal responsibility ...
— A Manual of Moral Philosophy • Andrew Preston Peabody

... strange text says. Without the least equivocation it says that God raised this man Pharaoh up that He might show forth His power in him. And that purpose He accomplished. This ghastly piece of royal rottenness has not been thrown upon this shore by the hand of man. As we look at him we see in him a monument of the power of God. And strange ...
— Sermons on Biblical Characters • Clovis G. Chappell

... wide The prince advanced, inflamed with passion: "To-morrow thou an oath," he cried, "Shalt swear without equivocation. ...
— Axel Thordson and Fair Valborg - a ballad • Thomas J. Wise

... type possess of course the merit of simplicity, transparency, and finality. The decrees, the punishments and rewards are given with some clearness and are easily understood; there is no appeal and little equivocation. They served a useful purpose in the earlier ages of civilisation, but cannot solve the problem for the complex civilisation and advanced culture of the present age. They place God too far from man, and attribute ...
— Rudolph Eucken • Abel J. Jones

... is doing the utmost violence to themselves, acting in the most palpable contradiction to their very nature. But if there be any such thing in mankind as putting half-deceits upon themselves; which there plainly is, either by avoiding reflection, or (if they do reflect) by religious equivocation, subterfuges, and palliating matters to themselves; by these means conscience may be laid asleep, and they may go on in a course of wickedness with less disturbance. All the various turns, doubles, and intricacies ...
— Human Nature - and Other Sermons • Joseph Butler

... question without equivocation—do you love that man?" He must ask that, know that; all else ...
— Beth Norvell - A Romance of the West • Randall Parrish

... of the text, and if true, the date of the title-page (1630) must be either a misprint or an equivocation on the part of the author. Or this instance and the several others similar to it may have been added by Medina to his manuscript after he had completed it to the date of the title-page; or they may be due to ...
— The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898, Volume XXIII, 1629-30 • Various

... with Commissioner Pett about his neglecting his duty and absenting himself, unknown to us, from his place at Chatham, but a most false man I every day find him more and more, and in this very full of equivocation. The fleete we doubt not come to Harwich by this time. Sir W. Batten is gone down this day thither, and the Duchesse of Yorke went down yesterday to meet ...
— Diary of Samuel Pepys, Complete • Samuel Pepys



Words linked to "Equivocation" :   misrepresentation, equivocate, prevarication, indirect expression, evasiveness, equivocalness, evasion, ambiguity, quibble, hedge, tergiversation, falsification, deception, cavil, quiddity, untruthfulness, circumlocution, deceit, hedging, doublespeak



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