amphiboly

(redirected from amphibolies)
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am•phib•o•ly

(æmˈfɪb ə li)

n., pl. -lies.
ambiguity of speech, esp. from uncertainty of the grammatical construction rather than of the meaning of the words, as in The Duke yet lives that Henry shall depose.
[1580–90; < Latin amphibolia < Greek, =amphíbol(os) ambiguous, n. derivative of amphibállein to throw round, be in dispute + -ia -y3]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.amphiboly - an ambiguous grammatical construction; e.g., `they are flying planes' can mean either that someone is flying planes or that something is flying planes
ambiguity - an expression whose meaning cannot be determined from its context
References in periodicals archive ?
To keep those who listen to my story in suspenso, to ascertain by means of diversions of an episodic nature what they wish the outcome to be, to fool them in the course of the narration, that is my pleasure; to employ amphibolies, so that the listeners give one meaning to what has been said and then suddenly notice that the words can also be interpreted differently, that is my art.