ambiguous

am•big•u•ous
[[t]æmˈbɪg yu əs[/t]] adj.
1) cv open to or having several possible meanings or interpretations:
an ambiguous answer[/ex]
2) difficult to comprehend, distinguish, or classify:
a rock of ambiguous character[/ex]
3) lacking clearness or definiteness; obscure; indistinct:
an ambiguous shape[/ex]
Etymology: 1520–30; < L 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.

From formal English to slang. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • ambiguous — I adjective abstruse, ambiguus, ambivalent, confused, difficult to comprehend, doubtful, dubious, equivocal, having a double meaning, indefinite, indistinct, inexact, lacking clearness, not clear, not plain, obscure, open to various… …   Law dictionary

  • Ambiguous — Am*big u*ous, a. [L. ambiguus, fr. ambigere to wander about, waver; amb + agere to drive.] Doubtful or uncertain, particularly in respect to signification; capable of being understood in either of two or more possible senses; equivocal; as, an… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ambiguous — UK US /æmˈbɪgjuəs/ adjective ► having more than one possible meaning, and therefore likely to cause confusion: »Many companies are appealing against the ruling, because the wording is ambiguous …   Financial and business terms

  • ambiguous — (adj.) 1520s, from L. ambiguus having double meaning, shifting, changeable, doubtful, adjective derived from ambigere to dispute about, lit. to wander, from ambi about (see AMBI (Cf. ambi )) + agere drive, lead, act (see ACT (Cf. act)). Sir… …   Etymology dictionary

  • ambiguous — equivocal, cryptic, enigmatic, vague, *obscure, dark Analogous words: dubious, *doubtful, questionable Antonyms: explicit Contrasted words: lucid, perspicuous, *clear: express, definite, specific, categorical (see EXPLICIT) …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • ambiguous — [adj] having more than one meaning clear as dishwater*, cryptic, doubtful, dubious, enigmatic, enigmatical, equivocal, inconclusive, indefinite, indeterminate, inexplicit, muddy, obscure, opaque, puzzling, questionable, tenebrous, uncertain,… …   New thesaurus

  • ambiguous — ► ADJECTIVE 1) (of language) having more than one meaning. 2) not clear or decided. DERIVATIVES ambiguously adverb. ORIGIN Latin ambiguus doubtful …   English terms dictionary

  • ambiguous — [am big′yo͞o əs] adj. [L ambiguus < ambigere, to wander < ambi , about, around + agere, to do, ACT1] 1. having two or more possible meanings 2. not clear; indefinite; vague SYN. OBSCURE ambiguously adv. ambiguousness n …   English World dictionary

  • ambiguous — 01. The President was purposefully [ambiguous] in his reply. 02. I feel pretty [ambiguous] about the party. I hope it s a success, but I don t want to go myself. 03. There can be no [ambiguity] over the right of people to say what they believe.… …   Grammatical examples in English

  • ambiguous — ambiguously, adv. ambiguousness, n. /am big yooh euhs/, adj. 1. open to or having several possible meanings or interpretations; equivocal: an ambiguous answer. 2. Ling. (of an expression) exhibiting constructional homonymity; having two or more… …   Universalium

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