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Thursday 24 September 2015

Prevarication and procrastination: a rant.

There's a difference, you know.

Procrastination is putting off doing something, like trimming the hedge, or sewing on that button, or invading that country.

Prevaricate means to speak or act evasively with an intention to deceive. You'll get nowhere prevaricating with hedges or buttons, though prevarication can be part of a procrastination process where the invasion of a country is concerned.

You can see the reason for the confusion:

Would you like to borrow my wedding dress when you get married?

Oh goodness, thank you, but I haven't got as far as thinking about that, yet.

See? Both procrastination - putting off a decision - and prevarication - avoiding a straight answer in order to hide your real opinion. 

Sometimes I can't help but wish people would work out what they're doing. 

But still, I suppose it beats screaming: What? But that dress made you look like a fifty-year-old fat meringue! doesn't it.

Words To Use Carefully Today: procrastinate and prevaricate. Procrastinate comes from the Latin prōcrāstināre, to put off until tomorrow, from crās, tomorrow. Prevaricate comes from the Latin praevāricārī to walk crookedly.

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