Synonyms & Antonyms of ambiguous

having an often intentionally veiled or uncertain meaning
  • the exact reason for the change in plans is ambiguous, but I suspect it has something to do with money

Synonyms for ambiguous

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Antonyms for ambiguous

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Frequently Asked Questions About ambiguous

How is the word ambiguous different from other adjectives like it?

Some common synonyms of ambiguous are cryptic, dark, enigmatic, equivocal, obscure, and vague. While all these words mean "not clearly understandable," ambiguous applies to language capable of more than one interpretation.

an ambiguous directive

When can cryptic be used instead of ambiguous?

The words cryptic and ambiguous can be used in similar contexts, but cryptic implies a purposely concealed meaning.

cryptic hints of hidden treasure

When would dark be a good substitute for ambiguous?

The words dark and ambiguous are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, dark implies an imperfect or clouded revelation often with ominous or sinister suggestion.

muttered dark hints of revenge

When is it sensible to use enigmatic instead of ambiguous?

The synonyms enigmatic and ambiguous are sometimes interchangeable, but enigmatic stresses a puzzling, mystifying quality.

enigmatic occult writings

When could equivocal be used to replace ambiguous?

While the synonyms equivocal and ambiguous are close in meaning, equivocal applies to language left open to differing interpretations with the intention of deceiving or evading.

moral precepts with equivocal phrasing

In what contexts can obscure take the place of ambiguous?

Although the words obscure and ambiguous have much in common, obscure implies a hiding or veiling of meaning through some inadequacy of expression or withholding of full knowledge.

obscure poems

When is vague a more appropriate choice than ambiguous?

While in some cases nearly identical to ambiguous, vague implies a lack of clear formulation due to inadequate conception or consideration.

a vague sense of obligation

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Time Traveler for ambiguous

Time Traveler

The first known use of ambiguous was in 1528

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Cite this Entry

“Ambiguous.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on ambiguous

Nglish: Translation of ambiguous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ambiguous for Arabic Speakers


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