Each week The Sun's John McIntyre presents a moderately obscure but evocative word with which you may not be familiar — another brick to add to the wall of your working vocabulary. This week's word:
If you tergiversate, you make contradictory or evasive statements, or you equivocate or use subterfuge. Tergiversation (pronounced ter-JIV-er-say-shun) can also refer to shifting loyalties, becoming an apostate, in which circumstance equivocation might be a useful way of concealing actual loyalties.
The verb comes from the Latin tergiversari, "to turn one's back," of which the root components are tergum, "the back," and vertere, "to turn."
Example: Richard Gillman, in "Standing Up to Ezra Pound," The New York Times, Aug. 25, 1991, cited at Dictionary.com: "No doubt if I worked on it, I could evolve some kind of double-talk that would get around the offensive phrase, and make the, to me, face-saving implication; but to hell with that, I have too much respect for the English language, and for your understanding of it, to go in for tergiversation and weasely circumlocution."