Definition of ambiguous
1a : doubtful or uncertain especially from obscurity or indistinctness eyes of an ambiguous colorb : inexplicable
2 : capable of being understood in two or more possible senses or ways an ambiguous smile an ambiguous term a deliberately ambiguous reply
ambiguous was our Word of the Day on 04/24/2017. Hear the podcast!
Examples of ambiguous in a Sentence
Greater familiarity with this artist makes one's assessment of him more tentative rather than less. His best pictures exude a hypersensitive, ambiguous aura of grace. —Peter Schjeldahl, New Yorker, 10 Mar. 2003
He seeks sources for the speech's ideas in Lincoln's ambiguous stance toward organized religion, in the sermons of preachers he listened to, and in his Bible-reading habit. —Gilbert Taylor, Booklist, 15 Dec. 2001
In Mexico we follow the fraught, ambiguous journey of a Tijuana cop … caught between the ruthless, corrupt general … he works for and the DEA, which wants him to inform on his countrymen. —David Ansen, Newsweek, 8 Jan. 2001
Physicians could manipulate reimbursement rules to help their patients obtain coverage for care that the physicians perceive to be necessary, for example, through ambiguous documentation or by exaggerating the severity of patients' conditions. —Michael K. Wynia et al., Journal of the American Medical Association, 12 Apr. 2000
We were confused by the ambiguous wording of the message.
He looked at her with an ambiguous smile.
Due to the ambiguous nature of the question, it was difficult to choose the right answer.
the ambiguous position of women in modern society
Recent Examples of ambiguous from the Web
Schock argued in an April filing that the charges are based on ambiguous House spending rules.
A callow country lad falls for a worldly widow in the second big-screen version of My Cousin Rachel, Daphne du Maurier's brilliantly ambiguous tale of attraction and suspicion in Victorian-era England.
But that book is fairly orthodox science fiction about aliens, not the highly ambiguous dreamscape that Tarkovsky ended up filming.
Alabama has long refused to play any of those non-SEC Alabama schools, yet the reasoning has always been ambiguous.
But as Mr. Trump’s position on Russia has become more ambiguous and tense, a latent anti-American sentiment in the Five Star Movement has surfaced.
Below, Mastronardi speaks to us about Season 2's ambiguous final scene, learning improv from Ansari, and why Francesca is more than a Euro manic pixie dream girl.
On the risk of endocrine disruption, however, the science is more ambiguous.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ambiguous'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of ambiguous
Latin ambiguus, from ambigere to be undecided, from ambi- + agere to drive — more at agent
First Known Use: 1528
Synonym Discussion of ambiguous
AMBIGUOUS Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of ambiguous for English Language Learners
: able to be understood in more than one way : having more than one possible meaning
: not expressed or understood clearly
AMBIGUOUS Defined for Kids
Definition of ambiguous for Students
: able to be understood in more than one way an ambiguous explanation
ambiguouslyadverb answered ambiguously
Seen and Heard
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