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AMBIGUOUS

Pronunciation (US): 

 Dictionary entry overview: What does ambiguous mean? 

AMBIGUOUS (adjective)
  The adjective AMBIGUOUS has 3 senses:

1. open to two or more interpretations; or of uncertain nature or significance; or (often) intended to mislead
2. having more than one possible meaning
3. having no intrinsic or objective meaning; not organized in conventional patterns

  Familiarity information: AMBIGUOUS used as an adjective is uncommon.


 Dictionary entry details 


AMBIGUOUS (adjective)


Sense 1ambiguous [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

Open to two or more interpretations; or of uncertain nature or significance; or (often) intended to mislead

Synonyms:

ambiguous; equivocal

Context examples:

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

Similar:

double; forked (having two meanings with intent to deceive)

evasive (deliberately vague or ambiguous)

indeterminate (of uncertain or ambiguous nature)

Also:

ambiguous (having more than one possible meaning)


Sense 2ambiguous [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

Having more than one possible meaning

Context examples:

ambiguous words / frustrated by ambiguous instructions, the parents were unable to assemble the toy

Similar:

double-barreled; double-barrelled (having two purposes; twofold)

double-edged (capable of being interpreted in two usually contradictory ways)

enigmatic; oracular (resembling an oracle in obscurity of thought)

left-handed (ironically ambiguous)

multi-valued; multivalent (having many values, meanings, or appeals)

polysemantic; polysemous (of words; having many meanings)

uncertain (ambiguous (especially in the negative))

Also:

ambiguous; equivocal (open to two or more interpretations; or of uncertain nature or significance; or (often) intended to mislead)

unclear (not clear to the mind)

Antonym:

unambiguous (having or exhibiting a single clearly defined meaning)


Sense 3ambiguous [BACK TO TOP]

Meaning:

Having no intrinsic or objective meaning; not organized in conventional patterns

Context examples:

an ambiguous situation with no frame of reference / ambiguous inkblots

Similar:

unstructured (lacking definite structure or organization)

Domain category:

psychological science; psychology (the science of mental life)


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 AMBIGUOUS: related words searches 

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