Equivocal chord
Equivocal E*quiv"o*cal, a. [L. aequivocus: aequus equal + vox, vocis, word. See {Equal}, and {Voice}, and cf. {Equivoque}.] 1. (Literally, called equally one thing or the other; hence:) Having two significations equally applicable; capable of double interpretation; of doubtful meaning; ambiguous; uncertain; as, equivocal words; an equivocal sentence. [1913 Webster]

For the beauties of Shakespeare are not of so dim or equivocal a nature as to be visible only to learned eyes. --Jeffrey. [1913 Webster]

2. Capable of being ascribed to different motives, or of signifying opposite feelings, purposes, or characters; deserving to be suspected; as, his actions are equivocal. ``Equivocal repentances.'' --Milton. [1913 Webster]

3. Uncertain, as an indication or sign; doubtful. ``How equivocal a test.'' --Burke. [1913 Webster]

{Equivocal chord} (Mus.), a chord which can be resolved into several distinct keys; one whose intervals, being all minor thirds, do not clearly indicate its fundamental tone or root; the chord of the diminished triad, and the diminished seventh.

Syn: Ambiguous; doubtful; uncertain; indeterminate.

Usage: {Equivocal}, {Ambiguous}. We call an expression ambiguous when it has one general meaning, and yet contains certain words which may be taken in two different senses; or certain clauses which can be so connected with other clauses as to divide the mind between different views of part of the meaning intended. We call an expression equivocal when, taken as a whole, it conveys a given thought with perfect clearness and propriety, and also another thought with equal propriety and clearness. Such were the responses often given by the Delphic oracle; as that to Cr[oe]sus when consulting about a war with Persia: ``If you cross the Halys, you will destroy a great empire.'' This he applied to the Persian empire, which lay beyond that river, and, having crossed, destroyed his own empire in the conflict. What is ambiguous is a mere blunder of language; what is equivocal is usually intended to deceive, though it may occur at times from mere inadvertence. Equivocation is applied only to cases where there is a design to deceive. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Equivocal — E*quiv o*cal, a. [L. aequivocus: aequus equal + vox, vocis, word. See {Equal}, and {Voice}, and cf. {Equivoque}.] 1. (Literally, called equally one thing or the other; hence:) Having two significations equally applicable; capable of double… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Sonata form — For the Sonata as a complete multi movement structure, and related musical forms, see Sonata. Sonata form is a large scale musical structure used widely since the middle of the 18th century (the early Classical period). While it is typically used …   Wikipedia

  • Europe, history of — Introduction       history of European peoples and cultures from prehistoric times to the present. Europe is a more ambiguous term than most geographic expressions. Its etymology is doubtful, as is the physical extent of the area it designates.… …   Universalium

  • Wright brothers — Orville Wright Photo: 1903 Born August 19 …   Wikipedia

  • Ode: Intimations of Immortality — For the musical work by Gerald Finzi, see Intimations of Immortality. Poem s title page from 1815 collection of Poems Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood (also known as Ode, Immortality Ode or Great Ode) is a… …   Wikipedia

  • Thomism — St. Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225 1274), the eponym of Thomism. Picture by Fra Angelico (c. 1395 1455) …   Wikipedia

  • Fisherman's Blues — Infobox Album | Name = Fisherman s Blues Type = Studio album Artist = The Waterboys Released = October 1988 Recorded = Windmill Lane Studio Spiddal House 1986 – 1988 Genre = Folk Rock Length = 52:53 Label = Ensign Records, Chrysalis Records… …   Wikipedia

  • United States — a republic in the N Western Hemisphere comprising 48 conterminous states, the District of Columbia, and Alaska in North America, and Hawaii in the N Pacific. 267,954,767; conterminous United States, 3,022,387 sq. mi. (7,827,982 sq. km); with… …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”