amphiboly

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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]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
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
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
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....
(3) There are three varieties of these ambiguities and amphibolies: (1) When either the expression or the name has strictly more than one meaning ...