Definition of ambiguous in English:

ambiguous

adjective

  • 1Open to more than one interpretation; not having one obvious meaning.

    ‘ambiguous phrases’
    • ‘It is inherent in their task which involves applying rules stated in words that are often ambiguous.’
    • ‘Had it been seen abstracted from that context by the US public, there would have been a more ambiguous reaction.’
    • ‘They considered the Act to be ambiguous and open to interpretation on this point.’
    • ‘He gives an ambiguous answer to his initial question.’
    • ‘Much of the report is hard to read and contains many ambiguous or misleading statements.’
    • ‘This can result in obscurity or in a ruling which is ambiguous on matters of importance.’
    • ‘Once more, the evidence is ambiguous and interpretations have become polarized.’
    • ‘However, do not be fooled by this statement; it is ambiguous and misleading.’
    • ‘The motivating fictional element is a subversive or ambiguous move.’
    • ‘But even this latter assertion is somewhat uncertain and ambiguous for several reasons.’
    • ‘His remarks were ambiguous, and it will be the tone that matters.’
    • ‘Agreeing with a set of vague and ambiguous statements makes you dogmatic?’
    • ‘Either way, you just can't be quoted saying such amazingly ambiguous statements.’
    • ‘Others are more enigmatic and ambiguous in both their origins and meanings.’
    • ‘The very nature of his removal remains for the moment ambiguous.’
    • ‘Mr Sumption says, if necessary, that in the present case the phraseology is both obscure and ambiguous.’
    • ‘For the record, I say to the House this law is ambiguous in terms of its interpretation.’
    • ‘I seem to remember the novel being a bit more ambiguous than that.’
    • ‘But what elevates the novel beyond the genre is the ambiguous, enigmatic voice of Mary herself.’
    • ‘The Constitution is an ambiguous document open to interpretation by all.’
    equivocal, ambivalent, open to debate, open to argument, arguable, debatable
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Not clear or decided.
      ‘the election result was ambiguous’
      • ‘I wanted a book that showed us how ambiguous we are, or how ambivalent we are.’
      • ‘The painting may also be read as a glorification of the moral virtue of rural America or even as an ambiguous mixture of praise and satire.’
      • ‘The uncertainty of the public mood was mirrored by the ambiguous nature of the government.’
      • ‘Whether their other plans are ambiguous or meaningless is unclear.’
      • ‘However this is marred by the ambiguous lyrical content that attempts to pass itself off as meaningful.’
      • ‘Instead of tidy, maudlin conclusions, the film is handed an ambiguous closure.’
      • ‘Two viewings suggest that deciphering the complex, ambiguous plot may not be worth the effort.’
      • ‘The workers' status as private sector employees, though, is at best ambiguous.’
      • ‘Not only is it complex, ambiguous and inter-generational, but it is largely self-inflicted.’
      • ‘His play has been described as an ambiguous presentation of two equally flawed characters.’
      • ‘Judging by the reactions of some in the audience, the content of the film wasn't ambiguous to everyone.’
      • ‘Or does moralizing have to take a more ambiguous tone to be acceptable?’
      • ‘It's an ambiguous performance that will leave the viewer with questions long after the lights go down.’
      • ‘As I have argued before on these pages, that rage is morally ambiguous.’
      • ‘People have ambiguous, often funny notions about this ancient system of Indian medicine.’
      • ‘Then it strikes me that perhaps, like an ambiguous picture, both can exist simultaneously and have their own truth.’
      • ‘But if the political climate is ambiguous, there's still reason to celebrate.’
      • ‘Watching the disintegration of a man's dreams is uncomfortable, however morally ambiguous he might be.’
      • ‘This ambiguous attitude makes his art cryptic: viewers are left grasping at answers.’
      • ‘Is it any wonder that his ambiguous hybrid art dissolves boundaries in such an equivocal manner?’
      equivocal, ambivalent, open to debate, open to argument, arguable, debatable
      View synonyms

Origin

Early 16th century (in the sense ‘indistinct, obscure’): from Latin ambiguus ‘doubtful’ (from ambigere ‘waver, go around’, from ambi- ‘both ways’ + agere ‘to drive’) + -ous.

Pronunciation

ambiguous

/amˈbɪɡjʊəs/