September 5th, 2021

words 6
  • sallymn

Sunday Word: Duplicity

duplicity [doo-plis-i-tee, dyoo-]

1  a  deliberate deceptiveness in behavior or speech
   b  an instance of deliberate deceptiveness; double-dealing.
2  the quality or state of being twofold or double


The act of imitating a famous artist’s work, and profiting off it, is seen as a sleazy low-life con, as well as a major crime (which, of course, it is). Yet art forgery isn’t just about the eye candy of duplicity and profit. (Owen Gleiberman, 'Made You Look: A True Story of Fake Art' Review: The Most Spectacular Art Forgery Ever?, yahoonews, February 2021)

The plot thickens into a turbid gumbo of greed, blackmail, megalomania, brain science and duplicity. Clones disappear and reappear; people who seemed to be dead are perhaps not dead at all; there are several potential evil masterminds. (Sarah Lyall, A Human Cloning Error and Existential Questions Fuel This Science Fiction Romp, The New York Times, August 2021)

That was a feeble evasion, but Godfrey was not fond of lying, and, not being sufficiently aware that no sort of duplicity can long flourish without the help of vocal falsehoods, he was quite unprepared with invented motives. (George Eliot, Silas Marner)


'deceptiveness, character or practice of speaking differently of the same thing or acting differently at different times or to different persons,' early 15c, from Old French duplicite (13c), from Late Latin duplicitatem (nominative duplicitas) 'doubleness,' in Medieval Latin 'ambiguity,' noun of quality from duplex (genitive duplicis) 'twofold,' from duo 'two' (from PIE root dwo- 'two') + -plex, from PIE root plek- 'to plait.' The notion is 'a state of being double' in one's conduct (compare Greek diploos 'treacherous, double-minded,' literally 'twofold, double') (Online Etymology Dictrionary)