Word Of The Year Tergiversate

November 30, 2011 by staff 

Word Of The Year Tergiversate, Today (, the preferred online and mobile dictionary for students of all ages, announced it has chosen “Tergiversate” for its 2011 Word of the Year. Tergiversate means “to change repeatedly one’s attitude or opinions with respect to a cause, subject, etc.” selected a difficult word for a difficult year, and in so doing decided to buck a trend in how Words of the Year are often chosen. Rather than focusing on a term in the popular vocabulary, or a new word coined by a celebrity or politician, the company decided to follow its mission of word discovery and seek a perfect candidate that will expand people’s knowledge.’s editorial team elaborates on the choice of tergiversate on its Hot Word blog:

There are essentially two ways to pick a “word of the year.” One common approach is to select from words whose common usage reflects some quality of the year past. Expect to see “occupy,” “winning,” etc., on many selections this December. Another way involves actually using the dictionary. Is there a word that captures the character of 2011, regardless of its popularity or ubiquity?

In late October, we asked our Facebook fans which method of selection they preferred. Almost 7 out of the 10 of them said it should be a word that aptly defines the spirit of 2011, even if the choice is obscure. We like to listen to our ardent supporters.

In the same manner that millions of people come to in order to find the precise word they need, we spelunked through our corpus to find that perfect fit for 2011. And so we chose tergiversate, a rare word that means “to change repeatedly one’s attitude or opinions with respect to a cause, subject, etc.; equivocate.” The stock market, politicians and even public opinion polls have tergiversated all year long. Tergiversate is derived from the Latin word “vertere,” to turn. It shares a root with the words “verse” and “versus.” (Can’t figure out how to pronounce it? Visit for the audio pronunciation.) One could say that events in Tahrir Square continue to tergiversate as sharply now as they did in the spring.

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