An equivocation refers to the use of a particular word or phrase to change the meaning of a sentence, in order to knowingly shift the intended message. Equivocations are hardly used in everyday conversations, although some clever person might find a way to weave them into their deceitful web. Equivocations are essentially wordplay. They fall under the broader term of the fallacy, which is defined as faulty reasoning, which is intended to make an argument seem better than it actually is.
Examples of equivocations include the following:
Dating my boyfriend is a real headache. Aspirin can make headaches go away, so maybe I should take an aspirin to make my boyfriend leave.
I have a right to free speech. Therefore, it is right for me to say what is on my mind at all times.
Equivocations are often a great source of funny jokes that you can tell at every opportunity. For example:
Two cannibals were eating a clown, and one turned to the other and said, “Does this taste funny to you?”
In all seriousness, though, equivocations are hardly your biggest worry when it comes to deception. At best, equivocations will bring you some laughter in your life; at worst, you are likely to end up confused, but only for a couple of minutes before you figure out what’s going on.
When you engage in concealment, you omit information for purposes of deceit. This is a preferred form of deception, especially since it is easy to get yourself off the hook if you are caught. You can simply explain yourself by saying that you forgot to reveal the particular fact. Concealments are sometimes referred to as lying by omission. Let’s say, for instance, that you are planning to buy a house. You know a good realtor, and you reach out to them with your specific requirements. The realtor has a few open units that fit your description, and you arrange for a site visit. Come the day of, you are impressed by this one particular unit that is conveniently located near your workplace, and spacious enough to accommodate you and your dogs. You want to make an offer on it, but you just need one question answered: why did the last owner give up the unit?
Your realtor tells you that the previous owners decided to move on to greener pastures after living in the unit for three years. However, the realtor conveniently omits the fact that the need for greener pastures was necessitated by the fact that property values are declining in the particular area that you want to buy your house in. By omitting this crucial fact, your realtor convinces you to buy the house. They did not tell an outright lie–they simply refused to tell the whole truth. This is the concept behind concealments.