ambiguity

Something with ambiguity is unclear. Think about the sentence, "Jill saw the man with binoculars." If you are wondering whether Jill or the man had the binoculars, you are noticing the ambiguity, or the double meaning, of this sentence.

Lawyers word contracts to avoid ambiguity, but in doing so prevent anyone who is not a lawyer from understanding what they have written! If you can't choose between two decisions because both seem somehow wrong, you are dealing with moral ambiguity. Imagine if a friend who has helped you out many times asks you to cheat. It's wrong to cheat but it also seems wrong not to help someone who has been there for you.

DEFINITIONS OF: ambiguity

1

n unclearness by virtue of having more than one meaning

Synonyms:
equivocalness
Antonyms:
unambiguity, unequivocalness
clarity achieved by the avoidance of ambiguity
Types:
equivocation, evasiveness, prevarication
intentionally vague or ambiguous
lexical ambiguity, polysemy
the ambiguity of an individual word or phrase that can be used (in different contexts) to express two or more different meanings
no man's land, twilight zone
the ambiguous region between two categories or states or conditions (usually containing some features of both)
Type of:
unclearness
incomprehensibility as a result of not being clear

n an expression whose meaning cannot be determined from its context

Types:
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loophole
an ambiguity (especially one in the text of a law or contract) that makes it possible to evade a difficulty or obligation
amphibology, amphiboly
an ambiguous grammatical construction; e.g., `they are flying planes' can mean either that someone is flying planes or that something is flying planes
parisology
the use of ambiguous words
double entendre
an ambiguity with one interpretation that is indelicate
Type of:
expression, locution, saying
a word or phrase that particular people use in particular situations
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