Definition of ambiguous in English:

ambiguous

adjective

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

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