Examples of ambiguity in a sentence
A third factor amping your desire to speed things along: Despite the euphoria of those first kisses and dates, the initial stages of infatuation can be incredibly unsettling. “You aren't sure yet where you stand with your mate, so you're anxious to shake the ambiguity,” explains Regan. —Molly Triffin et al., Cosmopolitan, January 2008
The troubles in the Empire at the turn of the seventeenth century have often been laid at the door of the Peace of Augsburg. While it is true that the 1555 agreement papered over some unsolvable problems and contained ambiguities and loopholes, it had been conceived as a pragmatic compromise, and it did succeed in preserving the peace in Germany for one generation. —Alison D. Anderson, On the Verge of War, 1999
Her letters and diaries describe her own feelings of insecurity and worries about her possible fate if she could no longer work, and they also tell us a great deal about the ambiguity of her position within the society in which she lived, and her determination to defend and maintain her own status. —Joanna Martin, A Governess In the Age of Jane Austen, 1998
Above the level of molecular biology, the notion of “gene” has become increasingly complex. The chapter in which Ridley addresses the ambiguities of this slippery word is an expository tour de force. He considers seven possible meanings of gene as used in different contexts: a unit of heredity; an interchangeable part of evolution; a recipe for a metabolic product; … a development switch; a unit of selection; and a unit of instinct. —Raymond Tallis, Prospect, September 2003
the ambiguities in his answers
the ambiguity of the clairvoyant's messages from the deceased allowed the grieving relatives to interpret them however they wished
Where ambiguity comes from
It might not be immediately clear (unless you are fluent in Latin) how ambiguity ("uncertainty") and ambidextrous ("using both hands with equal ease") are connected, aside from the fact that they both begin with the same four letters. Ambiguity (and ambiguous) comes from the Latin ambiguus, which was formed by combining ambi- (meaning "both") and agere ("to drive"). Ambidextrous combines the same prefix with dexter (meaning "skillful; relating to or situated on the right"). So each of these words carries the meaning of "both" in its history; one with the sense of "both meanings" and the other with that of "both hands." Ambiguity may be used to refer either to something (such as a word) which has multiple meanings, or to a more general state of uncertainty.
Origin and Etymology of ambiguity
First Known Use: 15th century
AMBIGUITY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of ambiguity for English Language Learners
: something that does not have a single clear meaning : something that is ambiguous
AMBIGUITY Defined for Kids
Definition of ambiguity for Students
: something that can be understood in more than one way The message was filled with confusing ambiguities.
Learn More about ambiguity
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