ambiguousness

ambiguous

[am-big-yoo-uhs]
adjective
1.
open to or having several possible meanings or interpretations; equivocal: an ambiguous answer.
2.
Linguistics. (of an expression) exhibiting constructional homonymity; having two or more structural descriptions, as the sequence Flying planes can be dangerous.
3.
of doubtful or uncertain nature; difficult to comprehend, distinguish, or classify: a rock of ambiguous character.
4.
lacking clearness or definiteness; obscure; indistinct: an ambiguous shape; an ambiguous future.

Origin:
1520–30; < Latin ambiguus, equivalent to ambig(ere) be uncertain (amb- ambi- + -igere combining form of agere to drive, lead, act) + -uus deverbal adj. suffix; see -ous

ambiguously, adverb
ambiguousness, noun
unambiguous, adjective

ambiguous, ambivalent.


1. ambiguous, equivocal, cryptic, enigmatic describe conditions or statements not clear in meaning. ambiguous can refer to a statement, act, or attitude that is capable of two or more often contradictory interpretations, usually accidentally or unintentionally so: an ambiguous passage in the preamble. equivocal usually applied to spoken as well as written language, also means susceptible of two or more interpretations, and it usually suggests a deliberate intent to mislead by avoiding clarity: saving face with an equivocal response to an embarrassing question. cryptic usually refers to intentional obscurity, especially in language, and often implies a private or hidden meaning but stresses resultant mystification or puzzlement: a cryptic remark that left us struggling to interpret his intention. enigmatic focuses on perplexity resulting from a mysterious or imponderable event or utterance, often one of great importance or deep significance: prophetic texts so enigmatic that their meaning has been disputed for centuries. 3. dubious, vague, indeterminate, unclassifiable, anomalous. 4. puzzling, enigmatic, problematic.


1. explicit. 3. certain. 4. clear, precise, unambiguous.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
ambiguous (æmˈbɪɡjʊəs)
 
adj
1.  having more than one possible interpretation or meaning
2.  difficult to understand or classify; obscure
 
[C16: from Latin ambiguus going here and there, uncertain, from ambigere to go around, from ambi- + agere to lead, act]
 
am'biguously
 
adv
 
am'biguousness
 
n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

ambiguous
1520s, from L. ambiguus "having double meaning, shifting, changeable, doubtful," adj. derived from ambigere "to dispute about," lit. "to wander," from ambi- "about" + agere "drive, lead, act" (see act). Sir Thomas More (1528) seems to have first used it in English, but
ambiguity dates back to c.1400.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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