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[am-bi-gyoo-i-tee] /ˌæm bɪˈgyu ɪ ti/
noun, plural ambiguities.
doubtfulness or uncertainty of meaning or intention:
to speak with ambiguity; an ambiguity of manner.
an unclear, indefinite, or equivocal word, expression, meaning, etc.:
a contract free of ambiguities; the ambiguities of modern poetry.
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English ambiguite < Latin ambiguitās, equivalent to ambigu(us) ambiguous + -itās -ity
Related forms
nonambiguity, noun, plural nonambiguities.
1. vagueness, deceptiveness. 2. equivocation.
1. explicitness, clarity. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for ambiguities
  • No other figure from antiquity seems so versatile in her ambiguities, so modern in her contradictions.
  • It is necessary therefore to shun ambiguities and not to confound consequences.
  • Lily lives in a world of fine gradations and unresolved ambiguities.
  • Decisions were supported by clear majorities, free of the ambiguities that often plague rulings on highly charged subjects.
  • They are reasons to get to work ironing out the ambiguities and devising workable laws.
  • Resolving verbal ambiguities involves the calculation of probabilities derived from the real-time context.
  • Finally, there are ambiguities over capital requirements.
  • Instead, he escalated his rhetoric, in an attempt to overpower any ambiguities.
  • The markets are testing the ambiguities to destruction.
  • But the ambiguities of science sit uncomfortably with the demands of politics.
British Dictionary definitions for ambiguities


noun (pl) -ties
the possibility of interpreting an expression in two or more distinct ways
an instance of this, as in the sentence they are cooking apples
vagueness or uncertainty of meaning: there are several ambiguities in the situation
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ambiguities



c.1400, "uncertainty, doubt, indecision, hesitation," also from Medieval Latin ambiguitatem (nominative ambiguitas) "double meaning, equivocalness, double sense," noun of state from ambiguus (see ambiguous).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for ambiguities


use of words that allow alternative interpretations. In factual, explanatory prose, ambiguity is considered an error in reasoning or diction; in literary prose or poetry, it often functions to increase the richness and subtlety of language and to imbue it with a complexity that expands the literal meaning of the original statement. William Empson's Seven Types of Ambiguity (1930; rev. ed. 1953) remains a full and useful treatment of the subject

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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