The Meaning of Evasive: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of evasive? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word evasive, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word evasive mean?

According to Merriam-Webster Unabridged English Dictionary and Cambridge English Dictionary, the word evasive (pronounced ɪˈveɪsɪv) is an adjective that can refer to an action that someone takes to avoid something bad happening, as well as to describe someone who is answering questions in a way that does not give an honest or direct answer. In an interrogation, one might give evasive answers or an evasive statement to avoid answering the question truthfully. This tactic might include leaving out information or using words carefully as not to give too much away. These evasive responses are often used by a guilty party. Someone can also do an evasive maneuver or an evasive response. This is often used in war and military settings to describe a situation in which someone avoids enemy fire. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today!

Many different languages also contain words that mean evasive. Sometimes when looking at translations, you may notice that words are said or spelled the samie similarly in different languages. These cognates are usually formed when two words are of a similar origin. Cognates are words that look, sound, and mean something similar across languages. This list of translations is provided by Word Sense.

  • Czech: vyhýbavý‎
  • German: vorsichtig‎, zugeknöpft‎
  • Bulgarian: уклончив‎ (uklónčiv)
  • Norwegian: lukket‎, innesluttet‎
  • Spanish: evasivo (m.)
  • Maori: whakaperori‎
  • Russian: укло́нчивый‎
  • Finnish: välttelevä‎, kiertelevä‎

How can the word evasive be used in a sentence?

The word evasive can be used in numerous different settings to describe someone or something that is avoidant. This word is acceptable to sue in conversations with all levels of formality, from casual to polite or formal. In this example, Rien and Hila are discussing their friend Roy.

Hila: Has Roy been weird around you lately?

Rien: Yes! He’s been so evasive, I have no idea what’s going on with him. He won’t answer my texts, he’s always rushing through the halls. I mean, maybe he’s just busy but this is so not like him.

Hila: I think I know why he’s being so avoidant… remember when we went to the movies together?

Rien: Yeah, why?

Rien: He dove me home and then he tried to kiss me. I turned him down and I think he’s embarrassed. I feel bad, but I just don’t feel that way about him.

Here, Rien and Hila describe their friend as evasive. He is being extremely avoidant, and trying not to come in contact with Rien or Hila following his embarrassing moment with Rien. In this next example, Rien and Hila are watching a trial on television.

Rien: Answer the question! He’s guilty, I can tell!

Hila: We don’t know that he’s guilty. Innocent until proven guilty, Ri.

Rien: I can tell he’s guilty by how evasive he’s being when answering these questions. Innocent people tell the truth! Not these weird helf-truth non-statements.

In this example, Rien believes the man on trial is guilty because he is answering the questions evasively. 

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word evasive?

There are a number of different words that one can use in place of the word evasive. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same definition as another given word or phrase. Synonyms are helpful to know if you are trying to avoid using the same word multiple times, as well as if  you are looking to expand your vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word evasive is provided by Thesaurus

  • disingenuous
  • specious
  • indirect
  • vague
  • lying
  • delusory
  • sly
  • delusive
  • cagey
  • cunning
  • unreliable
  • crafty
  • illusory
  • sneaky
  • fugitive
  • tricky
  • treacherous
  • fishy
  • beguiling
  • slippery
  • elusive
  • fallacious
  • shifty
  • oblique
  • fraudulent
  • scheming
  • misleading
  • spurious
  • roguish
  • insidious
  • ambiguous
  • deluding
  • sophistical
  • deceiving
  • stonewalling
  • deceitful
  • false
  • phony
  • dissembling
  • bum
  • slick
  • catchy
  • intangible
  • casuistic
  • underhand
  • rascal
  • imposturous
  • snide
  • off
  • devious
  • deceptive
  • wily
  • astucious
  • elusory
  • plausible
  • underhanded
  • designing
  • serpentine
  • casuistical
  • mock
  • seeming
  • subtle
  • fake
  • foxy
  • two-faced
  • equivocating
  • unclear
  • prevaricating
  • shuffling
  • greasy

There are also a number of words that mean the opposite of the word evasive. These are called antonyms. Antonyms are also a useful English language term to know because they can be very helpful in expanding one’s vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word evasive is also provided by Thesaurus

  • graspable
  • sharp
  • unmistakable
  • pronounced
  • honorable
  • outspoken
  • pretenseless
  • upright
  • unequivocal
  • clear-cut
  • unquestionable
  • straight-arrow
  • perceptible
  • level
  • clear
  • talking turkey
  • plain
  • candid
  • guileless
  • recognizable
  • sincere
  • aboveboard
  • straight
  • truthful
  • up front
  • apparent
  • comprehensible
  • audible
  • definite
  • straightforward
  • just
  • express
  • laid on the line
  • intelligible
  • genuine
  • apprehensible
  • spelled out
  • unblurred
  • transpicuous
  • distinct
  • open
  • evident
  • conspicuous
  • precise
  • lucid
  • understandable
  • readable
  • undisguised
  • square-shooting
  • manifest
  • transparent
  • undissembled
  • obvious
  • plain-dealing
  • incontrovertible
  • knowable
  • coherent
  • perspicuous
  • undissembling
  • loud enough
  • crystal
  • open and shut
  • legible
  • direct
  • barefaced
  • patent
  • unconcealed
  • unambiguous
  • veracious
  • right-on
  • uncomplicated
  • palpable
  • frank
  • mellow
  • forthright
  • simple
  • lucent
  • explicit
  • unvarnished
  • like it is
  • upstanding

What is the origin of the word evasive?

According to Etymonline, the word evasive has been used since the year 1725 to describe people, and since 1744 to describe actions. The word evasive comes from the French évasif, which has its roots in the Latin evas, the past participle stem of the Latin evadere, which is a Latin verb meaning to get away or escape. We get numerous different words from this common root. Related words to evasive include the verb evade, the noun evasion, the adverb evasively, and the noun evasiveness. The term evasive action was first used in 1940 in military aviation.

Overall, the word evasive