amphibology

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Related to amphibologies: amphiboly

am·phi·bol·o·gy

 (ăm′fə-bŏl′ə-jē)
n. pl. am·phi·bol·o·gies
An ambiguous or equivocal statement.

[French amphibologie, from Late Latin amphibologia : Latin amphibo(lia), ambiguity (from Greek amphiboliā, from amphibolos, doubtful; see amphibole) + Latin -logia, -logy (added on the model of such words as tautologia, tautology).]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

amphibology

(ˌæmfɪˈbɒlədʒɪ) or

amphiboly

n, pl -gies or -lies
(Logic) ambiguity of expression, esp when due to a grammatical construction, as in save rags and waste paper
[C14: from Late Latin amphibologia, ultimately from Greek amphibolos ambiguous; see amphibole, -logy]
ˌamphiˈbolic, amphibolous adj
amphibological adj
amˌphiboˈlogically adv
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014

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.

amphibology

1. an ambiguity of language.
2. a word, phrase, or sentence that can be interpreted variously because of uncertainty of grammatical construction rather than ambiguity of the words used, as “John met his father when he was sick.” Also amphibologism, amphiboly.amphibological, amphibolous, adj.
See also: Grammar
-Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.amphibology - 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.
Translations
References in periodicals archive ?
As the Watchman himself insinuates, we too can only see or know so much, and in confused, uncertain, contradictory ways--like Macbeth, the play of Agamemnon is often a hermeneutic puzzle, replete with cryptograms, equivocations, oxymorons, amphibologies, and the like.
It is not true, as he states, that Faulkner "wrote all of his screen treatments, dialogue patches, and full screenplays directly on his typewriter" (229): Meta Carpenter Wilde writes about the difficulty of deciphering his handwriting (25-26), and the University of Mississippi has a handwritten Faulkner screenplay, "Wooden Crosses." Sometimes the jargon is jarring and wearisome--as in the discussion of chronotypes and "amphibologies of the photogram" (248).
In light of these macroscopic amphibologies marking the sixteenth century, Deborah Losse's brief book comprehensively examines prologues to French collections of mostly short prose fiction ("contes").