Two commonly confused words are prevaricate and procrastinate. They are similar in being quite formal, Latinate, words but have different meanings.
Prevaricate means “to deviate from the truth” (Merriam-Webster). It is not quite so strong as “lie” but implies an intention to mislead.
It is often, but not exclusively, used in reference to politicians:
- “It is one of the known indications of guilt to stagger and prevaricate in a story.” (Edmund Burke)
- “McCain will sometimes surrender to the cheap ploy or prevarication when the moment demands it, but it is often with a smirk or a wince, some hard-to-miss signal that he knows he’s up to no good.” (Matt Bai, The McCain Doctrines in the New York Times)
Procrastinate means “to put off intentionally and habitually” (Merriam-Webster). The term is often used in advice on time management or self-improvement, and can also be a noun (“procrastination”). People who habitually procrastinate are “procrastinators”.
- “Everyone experiences the desire to procrastinate. For one reason or another, nothing is harder than doing the one task that needs to get done.” (From How to procrastinate more productively)
- “Procrastination is not a problem of time management or of planning. Procrastinators are not different in their ability to estimate time.” (From Why We Procrastinate in Psychology Today)