Some people mistakenly use “equivocate” when they mean “equate,” “She equivocates rock to popular music generally” should be “equates rock to popular music generally” (though there are many kinds of popular music that are not rock). When something is being compared to something else as its equal, the word you want is “equate.”

In modern English “equivocate” usually refers to the action of speaking misleadingly, privately meaning one thing but intentionally giving a different impression to listeners. It is also used in a broader sense of being evasive in speech. Politicians who say “I am not planning to run” while privately thinking “If I get enough encouragement I will definitely run” are equivocating.

When Shakespeare’s witches assure Macbeth that he can not be killed by any man “born of woman” they are equivocating because they know he will be killed by Macduff, who technically was not “born” but torn from his dying mother’s womb in a crude cesarean section. Use this term only when deception or evasion is involved.

Conversely, to be “unequivocal” is to be straightforward, unambiguously saying what you mean.

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