Etymology
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straddle (v.)
1560s, "spread the legs wide," probably an alteration of striddle (mid-15c.), frequentative of striden (see stride (v.)). Transitive sense "place one leg on one side of and the other on the other side of" is from 1670s. U.S. colloquial figurative sense of "take up an equivocal position, appear to favor both sides" is attested from 1838. Related: Straddled; straddling. The noun is first recorded 1610s.
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bestride (v.)
Old English bestridan "to straddle the legs over, mount," from be- + stridan "to stride" (see stride (v.)). Compare Middle Dutch bestryden. Related: Bestrid; bestriding.
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stride (n.)
"a step in walking," especially a long one, from Old English stride "a stride, a step," from the root of stride (v.). Compare Dutch strijd, Old High German strit, German Streit "fight, contention, combat," Swedish and Danish strid "combat, contention." From c. 1300 as a measure of distance roughly the length of a stride. Figurative meaning "advance rapidly, make progress" is from c. 1600. Of animals (especially horses) from early 17c. To take (something) in stride (1832), i.e. "without change of gait," originally is of horses leaping hedges in the hunting-field; figurative sense attested from 1902. To hit (one's) stride is from horse-racing. Jazz music stride tempo is attested from 1938. Meaning "a standing with the legs apart, a straddle" is from 1590s.
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prevarication (n.)

late 14c., prevaricacioun, "divergence from a right course, transgression, violation of a law or commandment" (a sense now obsolete), from Old French prevaricacion "breaking of God's laws, disobedience (to the Faith)" (12c., Modern French prévarication) and directly from Latin praevaricationem (nominative praevaricatio) "duplicity, collusion, a stepping out of line (of duty or behavior)," noun of action from past-participle stem of praevaricari "to make a sham accusation, deviate," literally "walk crookedly," in Church Latin, "to transgress."

This Latin word is from prae "before" (see pre-) + varicare "to straddle," from varicus "straddling," from varus "bowlegged, knock-kneed" (see varus). The main modern meaning "evasion, quibbling, act of deviating from truth, honesty, or plain dealing" is attested from 1650s.

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stride (v.)

Old English stridan (past tense strad, past participle striden), "to straddle, mount" (a horse), from Proto-Germanic *stridanan (source also of Middle Low German strede "stride, strive;" Old Saxon stridian, Danish stride, Swedish strida "to fight," Dutch strijden, Old High German stritan, German streiten "to fight, contend, struggle," Old Norse striðr "strong, hard, stubborn, severe").

The sense connection in the various Germanic forms is perhaps "strive, make a strong effort;" the senses having to do with walking and standing are found only in English and Low German. Meaning "to walk with long or extended steps" is from c. 1200. Cognate words in most Germanic languages mean "to fight, struggle;" the notion behind the English usage might be the effort involved in making long strides, striving forward.

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