Something equivocal is unclear and might be interpreted in different ways,
and when people equivocate, they're being unclear on purpose.
(Look inside the words and notice that that equivocal speakers seem to give "equal" "voice" to different ideas, so it's hard to tell what the speaker really thinks.)
Something unequivocal is so clear and definite that no one could misunderstand it.
(That's the word we'll focus on today.)
un ih KWIV uh kull
Part of speech:
(Adjectives are describing words, like “large” or “late.”
They can be used in two ways:
1. Right before a noun, as in “an unequivocal command.”
2. After a linking verb, as in "The command was unequivocal.”)
Talk about an unequivocal statement, message, command, demand, response, insistence, and so on. (More specifically, you can have an unequivocal "no," an unequivocal refusal, an unequivocal "yes," unequivocal agreement, etc.) There's unequivocal support, unequivocal evidence, unequivocal proof, an unequivocal success or failure, unequivocal threats, and so on. And a feeling can also be unequivocal: an unequivocal desire for something, unequivocal hatred, unequivocal affection, etc.
You can also say someone is unequivocal in/about/on/regarding/with something: "He's remained unequivocal in his insistence that school lunches be free for all students." Or, leave out any preposition when your meaning is clear, and just say that someone is unequivocal: "Asked about her position on equal rights, she was unequivocal."
Because this word is so definite by nature, I suggest avoiding words that water it down. "Pretty unequivocal," "fairly unequivocal," "rather unequivocal," even "very unequivocal" and so on take away from the absolute clarity that "unequivocal" provides all by itself.
Classroom rules must be unequivocal, as kids are experts at creatively misinterpreting them. "Pay attention in class," for example, invites claims like "I'm paying attention to my friends!"
Despite his claims of having been unequivocal on the issue, in each of his last three speeches he's brought it up, made a few vague remarks, and moved on.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "unequivocal" means when you can explain it without saying "absolutely clear" or "no room for misinterpretation."
Think of a time you or someone you know absolutely, most definitely succeeded at something (or utterly, completely failed at something) and fill in the blanks: "_____ was an unequivocal success/triumph/disaster/failure."
Example: "My first few attempts at making biscuits from scratch were unequivocal failures."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month, we're playing New Word Order! It's a card game that I recently created; it involves figuring out the order in which certain words and phrases entered our language. I'll give you several words and/or phrases, and you'll use your knowledge of history, slang, technology, popular culture, fashion, psychology, etc. to put them into chronological order. I'll post the right answer to each question on the following day. If you like this game, you can download and print it to play with your family and friends. (It's free.)
Remember, you don't need to come up with the actual years that the words entered the dictionary--just try to get the words in the correct time order.
Try these today:
Chill pill, geosynchronous, & forensics.
A Point Well Made:
Dante Alighieri: “Worldly renown is naught but a breath of wind, which now comes this way and now comes that, and changes name because it changes quarter.”
1. One opposite of UNEQUIVOCAL is
2. For good reason, participation in _____ requires your unequivocal consent.
A. medical research studies
B. magic shows
C. group job interviews
Answers are below.
To be a sponsor and send your own message to readers of this list, please contact Liesl at Liesl@HiloTutor.com.
Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Today we're checking out a word that might look "fancy" or "hard" at first, but when you look at the roots, the meaning becomes very easy to understand. ("Un" = not; "equi" = equal, "voc" = voice, "-al" = adjective ending.)
Similar words we've looked at include efflorescence, decerebrate, and unchoreographed. For each, could you pick apart the roots and define each one, then put them back together to explain what each word means?
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