open to two or more interpretations; or of uncertain nature or significance; or (often) intended to mislead
"an equivocal statement"; "the polling had a complex and equivocal (or ambiguous) message for potential female candidates"; "the officer's equivocal behavior increased the victim's uneasiness"; "popularity is an equivocal crown"; "an equivocal response to an embarrassing question"
having more than one possible meaning
"ambiguous words"; "frustrated by ambiguous instructions, the parents were unable to assemble the toy"
having no intrinsic or objective meaning; not organized in conventional patterns
"an ambiguous situation with no frame of reference"; "ambiguous inkblots"
Open to multiple interpretations.
The politician was criticized for his ambiguous statements and lack of precision.
Vague and unclear.
He gave an ambiguous answer.
Of persons: hesitant; uncertain; not taking sides.
Thomas Salusbury (1662): And forasmuch as in this same question I am ambiguous, and Simplicius is resolute....
English Synonyms and Antonyms
Equivocal (Latin equus, equal, and vox, voice, word) denotes that which may equally well be understood in either of two or more ways. Ambiguous (Latin ambi, around, and ago, drive, lead) signifies lacking in distinctness or certainty, obscure or doubtful through indefiniteness of expression. Ambiguous is applied only to spoken or written statements; equivocal has other applications. A statement is ambiguous when it leaves the mind of the reader or hearer to fluctuate between two meanings, which would fit the language equally well; it is equivocal when it would naturally be understood in one way, but is capable of a different interpretation; an equivocal expression is, as a rule, intentionally deceptive, while an ambiguous utterance may be simply the result of a want either of clear thought or of adequate expression. That which is enigmatical must be guessed like a riddle; a statement may be purposely made enigmatical in order to provoke thought and study. That is doubtful which is fairly open to doubt; that is dubious which has become the subject of doubts so grave as scarcely to fall short of condemnation; as, a dubious reputation. Questionable may be used nearly in the sense either of dubious or of doubtful; a questionable statement is one that must be proved before it can be accepted. To say that one's honesty is questionable is a mild way of saying that in the opinion of the speaker he is likely to prove dishonest. Equivocal is sometimes, tho more rarely, used in this sense. A suspicious character gives manifest reason to be suspected; a suspicious temper is inclined to suspect the motives and intentions of others, with or without reason. Compare CLEAR.
Complete Dictionary of Synonyms and Antonyms
Dictionary of English Synonymes
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Translations for ambiguous
From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary
- двусмислен, неясенBulgarian
- ambiguCatalan, Valencian
- tvetydig, flertydig, forblommet, dobbelttydig, dunkelDanish
- mehrdeutig, doppeldeutig, unklar, vage, zweideutigGerman
- moniselitteinen, tulkinnanvarainen, epäselväFinnish
- rancu, kaburIndonesian
- 曖昧, 曖昧なJapanese
- нејасен, двосмисленMacedonian
- vaag, dubbelzinnig, ambigu, onduidelijkDutch
- vag, flertydig, tvetydig, uklarNorwegian
- wieloznaczny, dwuznacznyPolish
- vago, indefinido, dúbio, ambíguo, imprecisoPortuguese
- ambiguu, cu multe sensuriRomanian
- višeznačan, dvosmislen, nejasanSerbo-Croatian
- i dykuptueshëmAlbanian
- dubbeltydig, osäker, svävande, tvetydig, vag, dunkelSwedish
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