ambiguous


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am·big·u·ous

 (ăm-bĭg′yo͞o-əs)
adj.
1. Open to more than one interpretation: an ambiguous reply.
2. Doubtful or uncertain: "The theatrical status of her frequently derided but constantly revived plays remained ambiguous" (Frank Rich).

[From Latin ambiguus, uncertain, from ambigere, to go about : amb-, ambi-, around; see ambi- + agere, to drive; see ag- in Indo-European roots.]

am·big′u·ous·ly adv.
am·big′u·ous·ness n.
Synonyms: ambiguous, equivocal, vague
These adjectives mean lacking clarity, especially by being open to a variety of interpretations. Ambiguous indicates the presence of two or more possible meanings: "It was impossible to tell from his ambiguous expression whether he knew what was happening" (Paul Theroux).
Something equivocal is unclear or misleading: "The polling had a complex and equivocal message for potential female candidates" (David S. Broder).
What is vague is expressed in indefinite form or reflects imprecision of thought: "Vague ... forms of speech ... have so long passed for mysteries of science" (John Locke).

ambiguous

(æmˈbɪɡjʊəs)
adj
1. having more than one possible interpretation or meaning
2. difficult to understand or classify; obscure
[C16: from Latin ambiguus going here and there, uncertain, from ambigere to go around, from ambi- + agere to lead, act]
amˈbiguously adv
amˈbiguousness n

am•big•u•ous

(æmˈbɪg yu əs)

adj.
1. open to or having several possible meanings or interpretations: an ambiguous answer.
2. difficult to comprehend, distinguish, or classify: a rock of ambiguous character.
3. lacking clearness or definiteness; obscure; indistinct: an ambiguous shape.
[1520–30; < Latin ambiguus=ambig(ere) be uncertain (amb- ambi- + -igere, comb. form of agere to drive, lead, act) + -uus deverbative adj. suffix; see -ous]
am•big′u•ous•ly, adv.
am•big′u•ous•ness, n.
syn: ambiguous, equivocal both refer to words or expressions that are not clear in meaning. ambiguous describes that which is capable of two or more contradictory interpretations, usu. unintentionally so: an ambiguous line in a poem; an ambiguous smile. equivocal also means susceptible of contradictory interpretations, but usu. by a deliberate intent to mislead or mystify: an equivocal response to an embarrassing question.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.ambiguous - open to two or more interpretations; or of uncertain nature or significance; or (often) intended to mislead; "an equivocal statement"; "the polling had a complex and equivocal (or ambiguous) message for potential female candidates"; "the officer's equivocal behavior increased the victim's uneasiness"; "popularity is an equivocal crown"; "an equivocal response to an embarrassing question"
ambiguous - having more than one possible meaning; "ambiguous words"; "frustrated by ambiguous instructions, the parents were unable to assemble the toy"
2.ambiguous - having more than one possible meaning; "ambiguous words"; "frustrated by ambiguous instructions, the parents were unable to assemble the toy"
unclear - not clear to the mind; "the law itself was unclear on that point"; "the reason for their actions is unclear to this day"
ambiguous, equivocal - open to two or more interpretations; or of uncertain nature or significance; or (often) intended to mislead; "an equivocal statement"; "the polling had a complex and equivocal (or ambiguous) message for potential female candidates"; "the officer's equivocal behavior increased the victim's uneasiness"; "popularity is an equivocal crown"; "an equivocal response to an embarrassing question"
unambiguous - having or exhibiting a single clearly defined meaning; "As a horror, apartheid...is absolutely unambiguous"- Mario Vargas Llosa
3.ambiguous - having no intrinsic or objective meaningambiguous - having no intrinsic or objective meaning; not organized in conventional patterns; "an ambiguous situation with no frame of reference"; "ambiguous inkblots"
psychological science, psychology - the science of mental life
unstructured - lacking definite structure or organization; "an unstructured situation with no one in authority"; "a neighborhood gang with a relatively unstructured system"; "children in an unstructured environment often feel insecure"; "unstructured inkblots"

ambiguous

ambiguous

adjective
Translations
غَامِض
dvojznačnýmnohoznačný
kétértelmû
tvíræîur, margræîur
dviprasmiškaidviprasmiškasdviprasmiškumas
divdomīgsneskaidrs
dvojznačný
anlamı belirsizbelirsiz

ambiguous

[æmˈbɪgjʊəs] ADJ [remark, meaning] → ambiguo

ambiguous

[æmˈbɪgjuəs] adj
(= open to more than one interpretation) [message, statement, language, definition] → ambigu(ë)
(= equivocal) [feelings, relationship] → équivoque

ambiguous

adjzwei- or doppeldeutig; joke, comment etczweideutig; (= with many possible meanings)mehr- or vieldeutig

ambiguous

[æmˈbɪgjʊəs] adjambiguo/a

ambiguous

(ӕmˈbigjuəs) adjective
having more than one possible meaning. After the cat caught the mouse, it died is an ambiguous statement (ie it is not clear whether it = the cat or = the mouse).
amˈbiguously adverb
ˌambiˈguity (-ˈgjuː-) noun
References in classic literature ?
The rank, wealth, and eminent character of the deceased must have insured the strictest scrutiny into every ambiguous circumstance.
This circumstance, coupled with his ambiguous, half-hinting, half-revealing, shrouded sort of talk, now begat in me all kinds of vague wonderments and half-apprehensions, and all connected with the Pequod; and Captain Ahab; and the leg he had lost; and the Cape Horn fit; and the silver calabash; and what Captain Peleg had said of him, when I left the ship the day previous; and the prediction of the squaw Tistig; and the voyage we had bound ourselves to sail; and a hundred other shadowy things.
But be all this as it may; let the unseen, ambiguous synod in the air, or the vindictive princes and potentates of fire, have to do or not with earthly Ahab, yet, in this present matter of his leg, he took plain practical procedures; --he called the carpenter.
By way of answer to this, it has been triumphantly asked, Why not in the first instance omit that ambiguous power, and rely upon the latter resource?
The pretty little girl held her mother by the hand, and it was easy to see that the lady had quickened her pace somewhat at the child's ambiguous phrase.
Between these two the roadway runs in a trench, sparsely lighted at night, sparsely frequented by day, and bordered, when it was cleared the place of tombs, by dingy and ambiguous houses.
This ambiguous conduct led them to believe that the natives had ill-treated the castaways, and indeed they seemed to fear that Dumont d'Urville had come to avenge La Perouse and his unfortunate crew.
Or again, by ambiguity of meaning,--as {pi alpha rho omega chi eta kappa epsilon nu / delta epsilon / pi lambda epsilon omega / nu upsilon xi}, where the word {pi lambda epsilon omega} is ambiguous.
He would have pardoned me, he would certainly have pardoned me, if I had not said anything to him about that cursed baldric--in ambiguous words, it is true, but rather drolly ambiguous.
These ambiguous circumstances, with the stranger's surprise and terror, made Dominicus think of raising a hue and cry after him, as an accomplice in the murder; since a murder, it seemed, had really been perpetrated.
AT a consultation, held between Colonel Winslow and Captain Murray, [of the New England forces, charged with the duty of exiling the Acadians,] it was agreed that a proclamation should be issued at the different settlements, requiring the attendance of the people at the respective posts on the same day; which proclamation should be so ambiguous in its nature that the object for which they were to assemble could not be discerned, and so peremptory in its terms as to ensure implicit obedience.
The eyes of his auditors involuntarily met; and, if the color that gathered over the face of Elizabeth was contradicted by the cold expression of her eye, the ambiguous smile that again played about the lips of the stranger seemed equally to deny the probability of his consenting to form one of this family group.