Ambiguously



open to or having several possible meanings or interpretations; equivocal:
an ambiguous answer.
Linguistics. (of an expression) exhibiting constructional homonymity; having two or more structural descriptions, as the sequence Flying planes can be dangerous.
of doubtful or uncertain nature; difficult to comprehend, distinguish, or classify:
a rock of ambiguous character.
lacking clearness or definiteness; obscure; indistinct:
an ambiguous shape; an ambiguous future.
Contemporary Examples

The Daily Beast reached out to Feliciano for clarification about his “ambiguously gay” statement.
“Why I Called Lindsey Graham ‘Ambiguously Gay'” Olivia Nuzzi March 13, 2014

But when he goes over a line that it is ambiguously drawn, then we erupt with outrage.
Phil Robertson’s Despicable AIDS Argument Should Be the Last Straw Kevin Fallon September 15, 2014

By the 1950s the rapid assignment of gender to an ambiguously gendered infant had become standard.
Intersexuality and God Through the Ages Candida Moss November 8, 2014

The new version of the bill is so ambiguously written, it might be almost as discriminatory as the old version.
How Anti-Gay Will Mississippi’s ‘New’ Religious Freedom Bill Be? Jay Michaelson March 10, 2014

Julius nurses an intense and ambiguously unrequited crush on Titus.
‘Telegraph Avenue’: Michael Chabon on His Obsessive Novel of Fandom Josh Dzieza September 10, 2012

Historical Examples

Mrs. Toner wore a ruffled dress and of her face little remained distinct but the dark gaze—forceful and ambiguously gentle.
Adrienne Toner Anne Douglas Sedgwick

“No time like the present to learn a lesson,” she replied, ambiguously.
The Dude Wrangler Caroline Lockhart

“By gracious, that accounts for a whole lot,” he said ambiguously.
The Happy Family Bertha Muzzy Bower

You write so ambiguously about it that I cannot make out the exact thing.
Wagner as I Knew Him Ferdinand Christian Wilhelm Praeger

Whatever his own disposition, his ear has been hitherto deaf to their hints, timidly, and ambiguously given.
Gwen Wynn Mayne Reid

adjective
having more than one possible interpretation or meaning
difficult to understand or classify; obscure
adj.

1520s, from Latin ambiguus “having double meaning, shifting, changeable, doubtful,” adjective derived from ambigere “to dispute about,” literally “to wander,” from ambi- “about” (see ambi-) + agere “drive, lead, act” (see act). Sir Thomas More (1528) seems to have first used it in English, but ambiguity dates back to c.1400. Related: Ambiguously; ambiguousness.

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  • Ambiophony

    noun the reproduction of sound to create an illusion to a listener of being in a spacious room, such as a concert hall

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