V2 Vocabulary Building Dictionary



Definition: 1. having more than one possible meaning or interpretation; 2. causing uncertainty or confusion; 3. open to interpretation

Synonyms: uncertain, unclear, vague,

Antonyms: explicit, clear, specific

Tips: Ambiguous is derived from the Latin ambiguous, from ambigere, "to be undecided." Ambiguous refers to anything that is unclear, uncertain, and vague because it can be left open to interpretation. Ambiguous usually refers to something said or written, as in "an ambiguous statement." For a memory trick, note how ambiguous sounds like A Big U.S. Now, imagine someone told you they were going on a trip and you asked them "where are you going?" and they said "the U.S." Your response would probably be, "Well, that's ambiguous (unclear), given how big the U.S. is." Note: many people often confuse ambiguous with ambivalent. Ambivalent means "having mixed feelings," while ambiguous means "uncertain or unclear" and "able to be interpreted in different ways."

Usage Examples:

We were hoping the market research would provide us with some new insights, but unfortunately, the data was ambiguous and inconclusive. (unclear, vague)

The reason the students did poorly on the test was because the directions were ambiguous. (unclear, confusing)

No one was able to determine Bob's opinion on the subject because his comments were so ambiguous. (vague, unclear)

The new tax laws were somewhat ambiguous, and accountants interpreted them in various ways. (unclear, confusing)

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