Definition of amphibology in English:



  • A phrase or sentence that is grammatically ambiguous, such as She sees more of her children than her husband.

    • ‘There are six linguistic fallacies: equivocation, amphiboly or amphibology, accent, composition, division, and figure of speech or parallel-word construction.’
    • ‘More to the point, he fells a victim to an obvious amphibology.’
    • ‘What is perhaps most revealing about his text is its composite character, as it enacts what Browne might have called the ‘amphibologies,’ the ambiguous frames of mind of which micrography is the theater.’
    • ‘I think deliberate amphibologies are used in drafting to get to agreement more than we might like to think.’
    • ‘Self-destructive treason and the haunting discourse of amphibology reduce the play to the strutting and fretting of a poor player upon the stage of political battle, ultimately, in its amphibolic circularity, full of sound and fury, but signifying nothing.’
    • ‘Insofar as each one of the three words underlined above has more than one meaning, the sentence is an amphibology, and one difficult to translate literally.’
    • ‘I introduce a general method, the amphibologization method, to generate amphibologies in pre-existent logical calculi.’
    • ‘The pivotal role of Being is the result of a functional doubling or what he calls an "amphibology" in the meaning of Being.’
    • ‘An amphibology is a statement that is ambiguous or can be taken in two ways.’
    • ‘Criseyde intends to enchant her father so much that he will pay no attention to Appollo's amphibologies or ambiguities.’
    • ‘What you said is right but I smell an amphibology here.’
    • ‘It is his love of amphibologies, words which simultaneously swim in different semantic streams, which the author takes to facilitate if not justify this ambivalence towards subjective expression.’


Late Middle English: from Old French amphibologie, from late Latin amphibologia, from Latin amphibolia, from Greek amphibolos ambiguous (see amphibole).