Definition of duplicity in English:


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  • 1Deceitfulness; double-dealing.

    ‘he was accused of duplicity and branded a traitor’
    • ‘To promote and protect their interest, they used coercion, bribery and nepotism as state policy and created a culture of opportunism, deceit, duplicity, loot and plunder.’
    • ‘He said the biggest obstacle to a Yes vote was the Government, whose track record of deceit, and duplicity had now been shamefully exposed.’
    • ‘It survives as a staple of film and television because it is highly photogenic, incorporating the undeniable dynamism of deceit and duplicity usually reserved for the spy story.’
    • ‘Lying, cheating, deception and duplicity only matter when you lose, for the winners rewrite history.’
    • ‘I have been accused of perfidy, malingering, duplicity, charlatanism and forty other words that I don't know the meaning of.’
    • ‘I know I am running the risk of DC finding out, and then being accused of duplicity, but at the moment I don't think she'd understand my reasons or my purpose.’
    • ‘Meanwhile in the aftermath of the war, the evidence of deception and duplicity that we experienced before and during the war has continued at pace.’
    • ‘You have to admire the pretentious duplicity of these guys: they have elevated hypocrisy and lying to a new art form?’
    • ‘But given his deceit on foreign policy and duplicity on the nuclear issue, I think we have good reason to be suspicious.’
    • ‘We are-each and every one of us-a tangled mass of motives; hope and fear, faith and doubt, simplicity and duplicity, honesty and falsity, openness and guile.’
    • ‘But hypocrisy, duplicity and deception are recognized skills of diplomacy.’
    • ‘Indulge at length your preoccupation with lying, bullying, malice, chicanery, duplicity and revenge.’
    • ‘Although quickly buried by the media, they paint a graphic picture of fraud, duplicity and hypocrisy.’
    • ‘There will be no more duplicity, crookedness, and desire for name, fame, and prestige.’
    • ‘They seem to have got some grim kick out out of their cunning, duplicity, guile and secrecy.’
    • ‘To say that this issue is too big for the people is to portray a myth, to portray a sham, to engage in an exercise in deceit, and to engage in an exercise in duplicity.’
    • ‘It raised fundamental policy questions and confirmed antiwar critics' charges of high-level deception and duplicity.’
    • ‘And then, in light of the company's history of serial duplicity and ham-fisted sponsoring subterfuge, they assume it must be rubbish.’
    • ‘After the war there was a Dutch parliamentary commission of investigation, but it discovered neither treachery nor duplicity.’
    • ‘His affability and lack of duplicity did not set him in good stead for his dealings with the sleazier side of 1980s politics.’
    deceitfulness, deceit, deception, deviousness, two-facedness, double-dealing, underhandedness, dishonesty, falseness, falsity, fraud, fraudulence, sharp practice, swindling, cheating, chicanery, trickery, craft, guile, artifice, subterfuge, skulduggery, treachery, unfairness, unjustness, perfidy, improbity
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  • 2 archaic Doubleness.

    ‘When her survey group becomes lost inside the cave, the author uses the experience to propel questions of the duplicity of maps and the ambiguities of human perception.’
    • ‘The very label, ‘African American’ intrinsically signifies a duplicity that remains misunderstood and unappreciated by many American and Africans.’
    • ‘This concurrence of disparate attitudes toward him creates an ambiguous point of view and indicates a duplicity, if not a multiplicity, of authorship.’
    • ‘The samples were kept for 10 mins to ensure the attainment of thermal equilibrium, confirmed by the constancy of the duplicity.’
    • ‘The white master, unable to detect the duplicity of slaves' language, became its victim.’



/do͞oˈplisədē/ /duˈplɪsədi/


Late Middle English from Old French duplicite or late Latin duplicitas, from Latin duplic- ‘twofold’ (see duplex).