am·​bage ˈam-bij How to pronounce ambage (audio)
archaic : ambiguity, circumlocution
usually used in plural
ambages plural, archaic : indirect ways or proceedings

Word History


Middle English ambages "intentional ambiguity," borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French (usually in plural ambages) "circumlocution, avoidance," borrowed from Latin ambāgēs (plural; rare in the singular outside of the ablative ambāge) "roundabout path, circuitous movement, circumlocution," from amb- "around, about" + -āg-, noun derivative (with anomalous vowel lengthening) of agere "to drive (cattle), be in motion, do, perform" — more at ambient entry 1, agent

First Known Use

1532, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of ambage was in 1532

Dictionary Entries Near ambage

Cite this Entry

“Ambage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!