am·big·u·ous Audio pronunciation of "ambiguous" ( P ) Pronunciation
1. Open to more than one interpretation: an ambiguous reply.
2. Doubtful or uncertain: “The theatrical status of her frequently
derided but constantly revived plays remained ambiguous” (Frank
[From Latin ambiguus, uncertain, from ambigere, to go about : amb-,
ambi-, around; see ambi- + agere, to drive; see ag- in Indo-European
Synonyms: ambiguous, equivocal, obscure, recondite, abstruse,
vague, cryptic, enigmatic
These adjectives mean lacking clarity of meaning. Ambiguous indicates
the presence of two or more possible meanings: Frustrated by ambiguous
instructions, I was unable to assemble the toy. Something equivocal
is unclear or misleading: “The polling had a complex and equivocal
message for potential female candidates” (David S. Broder).
Obscure implies lack of clarity of expression: Some say that Kafka's
style is obscure and complex. Recondite and abstruse connote the
erudite obscurity of the scholar: “some recondite problem
in historiography” (Walter Laqueur). The students avoided
the professor's abstruse lectures. What is vague is expressed in
indefinite form or reflects imprecision of thought: “Vague...
forms of speech... have so long passed for mysteries of science”
(John Locke). Cryptic suggests a sometimes deliberately puzzling
terseness: The new insurance policy is full of cryptic terms. Something
enigmatic is mysterious and puzzling: The biography struggles to
make sense of the artist's enigmatic life.
Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language,
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
adj 1: open to two or more interpretations; or of uncertain nature
or significance; or (often) intended to mislead; "an equivocal statement";
"the polling had a complex and equivocal (or ambiguous) message
for potential female candidates"; "the officer's equivocal behavior
increased the victim's uneasiness"; "popularity is an equivocal
crown"; "an equivocal response to an embarrassing question" [syn:
equivocal] [ant: unequivocal] 2: having more than one possible meaning;
"ambiguous words"; "frustrated by ambiguous instructions, the parents
were unable to assemble the toy" [ant: unambiguous] 3: having no
intrinsic or objective meaning; not organized in conventional patterns;
"an ambiguous situation with no frame of reference"; "ambiguous
Source: WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University
ambiguous: in CancerWEB's On-line Medical Dictionary
Source: On-line Medical Dictionary, © 1997-98 Academic Medical
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