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Ambiguity   Listen
noun
Ambiguity  n.  (pl. ambiguities)  The quality or state of being ambiguous; doubtfulness or uncertainty, particularly as to the signification of language, arising from its admitting of more than one meaning; an equivocal word or expression. "No shadow of ambiguity can rest upon the course to be pursued." "The words are of single signification, without any ambiguity."






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Ambiguity" Quotes from Famous Books



... just what a Parliamentary report ought to be—calm, perspicuous, and decided. There is no circumlocution nor ambiguity of expression here. After a patient investigation into the whole question, and a minute examination of enemies as well as friends, the Lords arrived at the opinion, that the existing banking system of Scotland ought on all points to be maintained, and they not only ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 56, Number 350, December 1844 • Various

... Yet this is what those do, who adduce the excellence of the precepts and spirituality of the general doctrine of the New Testament, as the "moral evidence" of its miracles and of its fulfilling the Messianic prophecies. But for the ambiguity of the word doctrine, probably such confusion of thought would have been impossible. "Doctrines" are either spiritual truths, or are statements of external history. Of the former we may have an inward witness;—that is their proper evidence;—but ...
— Phases of Faith - Passages from the History of My Creed • Francis William Newman

... a man is always awkward and miserable when placed between two women to whom he is making love. But Rousseau had never seen Mr. Churchill, and had but an imperfect idea of the dexterity, the ambiguity, that in our days can be successfully practised by an accomplished male coquette. Absolutely to blind female jealousy may be beyond his utmost skill; but it is easy, as every day's practice shows, to keep female vanity pleasantly perplexed by ocular deception—to ...
— Helen • Maria Edgeworth

... has a comment on this passage; but the ambiguity of the Latin relative renders it uncertain, how far the Critick applies particularly to the Pisos, except by the Apostrophe taken notice of in the last note. His words are these. Nisi horum democriticorum opinionem ...
— The Art Of Poetry An Epistle To The Pisos - Q. Horatii Flacci Epistola Ad Pisones, De Arte Poetica. • Horace

... appropriate form for a tone of decided encouragement to continue your remarks—probably complimentary to herself, or the opposite to some friend. And so we might go on down, taking every word of the sort from the dictionary, and comparing its usefulness now, with that of the time when it had no ambiguity. ...
— The Continental Monthly , Vol. 2 No. 5, November 1862 - Devoted to Literature and National Policy • Various

... infallibility. The First Broad Church has recourse, to harmonize them, to various logical processes, but principally to the one described in the last chapter, of diverting the student, at all difficult points, from criticism to edification. The Second Broad Church uses no ambiguity, but frankly avows that when the Bible contradicts science, the Bible must be in error. The First Broad Church maintains that the inspiration of the Bible differs in kind as well as in degree from that ...
— History of Rationalism Embracing a Survey of the Present State of Protestant Theology • John F. Hurst

... mammals of the Tertiary ages, higher and yet higher forms appear; the mute prophecies of the coming being become with each approach clearer, fuller, more expressive, and at length receive their fulfilment in the advent of man. A double meaning attaches to the term type; and hence some ambiguity in the writings which have appeared on this curious subject. Type means a prophecy embodied in symbol; it means also what Sir Joshua Reynolds well terms "one of the general forms of nature,"—a pattern form, from which all others in the same class or family, however ...
— The Testimony of the Rocks - or, Geology in Its Bearings on the Two Theologies, Natural and Revealed • Hugh Miller

... hand without receiving some fresh touch of embellishment. How comes it then, we may be asked, that in many passages the Author curtails instead of enlarging on the original? On that point we are agreed: the Author does so in order to avoid lengthiness and ambiguity,—two faults which are inadmissible in such matters, especially the latter. For if lucidity is to be commended in all literary works, we may say that it is especially necessary in narratives, where one thing is, as a rule, the ...
— The Tales and Novels, Complete • Jean de La Fontaine

... honor of our flag was never compromised. No! never did this noble flag cover with its folds a more noble enterprise. History will tell. I confidently invoke its testimony and its judgment. History will throw a veil over all the ambiguity, tergiversation and contestation which have been pointed to with so much bitterness and so eager a desire to spread discord amongst us. It will ignore all this, or, rather, it will proclaim it all, in order that the greatness of the undertaking ...
— Pius IX. And His Time • The Rev. AEneas MacDonell

... Because of the ambiguity indicated above, different people with different interests, all of them good patriotic Americans, draw very different inferences from the doctrine of equal rights. The man of conservative ideas ...
— The Promise Of American Life • Herbert David Croly

... selection does nothing without variability, and this depends in some manner on the action of the surrounding circumstances on the organism. I have, also, often personified the word Nature; for I have found it difficult to avoid this ambiguity; but I mean by nature only the aggregate action and product of many natural laws,—and by laws only the ascertained sequence of ...
— The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication, Vol. I. • Charles Darwin

... the voice of the people! Yet in order to satisfy the nicest of consciences we will permit Him to speak once again that He may defend Himself. Jesus of Nazareth! many know that you have said that you are the Christ, sent by Heaven. Answer clearly and without ambiguity. I ask you, Are you Christ, the ...
— I.N.R.I. - A prisoner's Story of the Cross • Peter Rosegger

... to philosophy. An ultimate datum, even though it be logically unrationalized, will, if its quality is such as to define expectancy, be peacefully accepted by the mind; while if it leave the least opportunity for ambiguity in the future, it will to that extent cause mental uneasiness if not distress. Now, in the ultimate explanations of the universe which the craving for rationality has elicited from the human mind, ...
— The Will to Believe - and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy • William James

... kind of ambiguity, and in practice still more insidious, is the ambiguity which arises from the connotation or emotional implications of words. The use of "republican" and "democrat" cited above runs over into this kind of confusion. In collegiate athletics ...
— The Making of Arguments • J. H. Gardiner

... the theme of Bubbles of the Foam: a little love-story, whose title, like that of all her elder sisters, has in the original a double application, by reason of the ambiguity of the last word, to Love, and to the Moon. We might also render it, A Heavenly Bubble, or, Love is a Bubble, or Nothing but a Bubble, or A Bubble of the World,[3] thinking either of Love or the Moon. For the Moon, ...
— Bubbles of the Foam • Unknown

... it is a question whether we cannot dispense with even more. The facts which constitute possession are in their nature capable of continuing presently true for a lifetime. Hence there has arisen an ambiguity of language which has led to much confusion of thought. We use the word "possession," indifferently, to signify the presence of all the facts needful to gain it, and also the condition of him who, although some of them no longer ...
— The Common Law • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

... reverse of manners.] Why, sir, your frankness and sincerity demand the same behaviour on my side;—therefore, without farther disguise or ambiguity, know, sir, that I myself [With a deep sigh.] am as deeply smitten with a certain swain, as I understand ...
— The Man Of The World (1792) • Charles Macklin

... however, might fairly argue that this very ambiguity was greatly in favour of his doctrine, since if languages had all been constantly undergoing transmutation, there ought often to be a want of real lines of demarcation between them. He might, however, propose that he and his pupils should come ...
— The Antiquity of Man • Charles Lyell

... to tell the truth once, don't cut no ice," Happy Jack maintained with sufficient ambiguity to avert the ...
— The Flying U's Last Stand • B. M. Bower

... passing of the rescinding act "either by general principles which are common to our free institutions, or by particular provisions of the Constitution of the United States." It was not until nine years after Fletcher vs. Peck that this ambiguity was cleared up in the Dartmouth College ...
— John Marshall and the Constitution - A Chronicle of the Supreme Court, Volume 16 In The - Chronicles Of America Series • Edward S. Corwin

... what loyalty to either principle involved. It was the distinction of Lincoln—a man lacking in much of the knowledge which statesmen are supposed to possess, and capable of blundering and hesitation about details—first, that upon questions like these he was free from ambiguity of thought or faltering of will, and further, that upon his difficult path, amid bewildering and terrifying circumstances, he was able to take with him the minds of very many very ...
— Abraham Lincoln • Lord Charnwood

... language, is common-wealth, and most properly expresses such a society of men, which community or city in English does not; for there may be subordinate communities in a government; and city amongst us has a quite different notion from common-wealth: and therefore, to avoid ambiguity, I crave leave to use the word common-wealth in that sense, in which I find it used by king James the first; and I take it to be its genuine signification; which if any body dislike, I consent with him to change it ...
— Two Treatises of Government • John Locke

... the strip which is contiguous to Belgrade. To this the Slavs demurred because Belgrade could then no longer remain the Serbian capital. But of these demands M. Bratiano would make no abatement, nor in the promise of the Entente to fulfil them would he admit of any ambiguity. Roumania's experience in 1877, under M. Bratiano's father, when, after having helped Russia to defeat the Turks, she was deprived of Bessarabia and obliged to content herself with the Dobrudja, was the main motive for this striving after definite ...
— England and Germany • Emile Joseph Dillon

... and conjuring her to let him have an opportunity of pleading his own cause, and obtaining forgiveness for his indiscretion. He did not judge it safe to go into any detail concerning the circumstances by which he had been misled, and upon the whole endeavoured to express himself with such ambiguity, that if the letter should fall into wrong hands, it would be difficult either to understand its real purport, or to trace the writer. This letter the old man undertook faithfully to deliver to his daughter at Woodbourne: and, as his trade ...
— Guy Mannering • Sir Walter Scott

... out of this ambiguity. In addressing the woman worker who does not, at the rate which her labour commands on the market, earn enough to give her any reasonable measure of financial freedom, the agitator will assure her that the suffrage would bring her more money, describing the woman suffrage cause to her as the ...
— The Unexpurgated Case Against Woman Suffrage • Almroth E. Wright

... essay. The nature of the subject it discusses, the general misapprehension both of the strong and weak points in the physiology of the woman question, and the ignorance displayed by many, of what the co-education of the sexes really means, all forbid that ambiguity of language or euphemism of expression should be employed in the discussion. The subject is treated solely from the standpoint of physiology. Technical terms have been employed, only where their use is more exact or ...
— Sex in Education - or, A Fair Chance for Girls • Edward H. Clarke

... the examination of experts before the recent "Lords' Committee" elicited more than twenty widely divergent definitions of this "Sweating System," some care is required at the outset of our inquiry. The common use of the term "Sweating System" is itself responsible for much ambiguity, for the term "system" presupposes a more or less distinct form of organization of industry identified with the evils of sweating. Now as it should be one of the objects of inquiry to ascertain whether there exists any one such ...
— Problems of Poverty • John A. Hobson

... that this was a very different thing from undertaking to extirpate heresy. Catherine affirmed that in this way the law could reach all the Huguenot ministers; and Alva professed to believe her.[25] Whatever studied ambiguity of language she may have used, the action of 1572 was uninfluenced by deliberations which were ...
— The History of Freedom • John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton

... interpreted as a "configuration," every "event" as a change of configuration, every predicate ascribed must be of a geometrical sort. Measured by these requirements of mechanics Spencer's attempt has lamentably failed. His terms are vagueness and ambiguity incarnate, and he seems incapable of keeping the mechanical point of view in ...
— Memories and Studies • William James

... in its terms, an order must be definite and must be the expression of a fixed decision. Ambiguity or vagueness indicates either vacillation or the inability to ...
— Infantry Drill Regulations, United States Army, 1911 - Corrected to April 15, 1917 (Changes Nos. 1 to 19) • United States War Department

... of it. A man in private life would be justified in ignoring such gossip, but for a man in my profession ambiguity has no place, nor has compromise. Himself a severe judge of the conduct of others, he must not afford them a single instance whereby they can accuse him of not ...
— Zibeline, Complete • Phillipe de Massa

... ambiguity about this affair, anyhow," she said grimly. "Of course it had to come sooner or later, and I knew it had to come. Well, here it is, that's all, and there's no use whining. And that's why he's been so jumpy lately: he had a bad conscience. Poor ...
— The Far Horizon • Lucas Malet

... gat the loon that drew the deed, We spell'd it ower richt carefully; In vain he yerk'd his souple head To find an ambiguity. It 's dated, tested, a' complete; The proper stamp, nae word delete; And diligence, as on decreet, May pass ...
— The Modern Scottish Minstrel, Volumes I-VI. - The Songs of Scotland of the Past Half Century • Various

... well-known historic epochs, periods in the history of language, and geological ages and strata. The word "age" is not capitalized except when necessary to avoid ambiguity. ...
— Capitals - A Primer of Information about Capitalization with some - Practical Typographic Hints as to the Use of Capitals • Frederick W. Hamilton

... river and rear limits extending up into the foothills behind. The metes and bounds of the granted lands were always set forth in the letters-patent or title-deeds; but almost invariably with utter vagueness and ambiguity. The territory was not surveyed; each applicant, in filing his petition for a seigneury, was asked to describe the tract he desired. This description, usually inadequate and inaccurate, was copied in the deed, and in due course hopeless confusion ...
— The Seigneurs of Old Canada: - A Chronicle of New-World Feudalism • William Bennett Munro

... the late General John A. Rawlins, and to the facts that no appropriation of money to pay for the statue is made by the resolution and no artist is named or party designated to whom the ordnance is to be delivered. In view of the ambiguity of the statute, I would recommend that Congress signify what action is desired as to the selection of the artist, and that the necessary sum required for the erection of the monument be appropriated. A board of ...
— A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents: Ulysses S. Grant • James D. Richardson

... Frost's "Lives of Eminent Christians." I will leave none of the ambiguity about my words in which Moore and Wordsworth seem to have delighted. I am very sorry the book is gone, and know not where to turn for its successor. Till I have found a substitute I can write no more, and I do not know how to find even a tolerable one. I should try a volume of Migne's "Complete ...
— Essays on Life, Art and Science • Samuel Butler

... Part common both to Rhetoricians and Philosophers, I happen'd to fall upon some egregious Mistakes of the Interpreters. And there is no Doubt but that they that are unskill'd in the Greek have often miss'd it in many Places. For Aristotle proposes a Sort of such Kind of Ambiguity as arises from a Word of a contrary Signification. [Greek: ho ti manthanousin oi epistamenoi ta gar apostomatizomena manthanousin oi grammatikoi to gar manthanein omonymon, to te xunienai chromenon te episteme, ...
— Colloquies of Erasmus, Volume I. • Erasmus

... and for this reason absence of sense is a means of accentuating beauty of sound and verbal suggestion. But this example shows how the tendency to neglect structure in literature is a tendency to surrender the use of language as an instrument of thought The descent is easy from ambiguity to meaninglessness. ...
— The Sense of Beauty - Being the Outlines of Aesthetic Theory • George Santayana

... between determinism and libertarianism hinges largely on the significance of the word "motive"; indeed in no other philosophical controversy has so much difficulty been caused by purely verbal disputation and ambiguity of expression. How far, and in what sense, can action which is determined by motives be said to be free? For a long time the advocates of free-will, in their eagerness to preserve moral responsibility, ...
— Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 8, Slice 3 - "Destructors" to "Diameter" • Various

... are indicated by each character; 73 characters are all that are needed to express the whole language. It is so simple and stenographic that the fathers often use it as a rapid way of writing French. It has, however, the disadvantage of ambiguity at times. Any Indian boy can learn it in a week or two; practically all the Indians use it. What a commentary on our own cumbrous and illogical spelling, which takes even a bright child two or three ...
— The Arctic Prairies • Ernest Thompson Seton

... for himself, I must utter my belief in the divine inspiration of the founding fathers. Surely there must have been God's intent in the making of this new-world Republic. Ours is an organic law which had but one ambiguity, and we saw that effaced in a baptism of sacrifice and blood, with union maintained, the Nation supreme, and its concord inspiring. We have seen the world rivet its hopeful gaze on the great truths ...
— U.S. Presidential Inaugural Addresses • Various

... if not the most just, criterion of a man's services, is the wage that mankind pays him, or, briefly, what he earns. There at least there can be no ambiguity. St. Paul is fully and freely entitled to his earnings as a tentmaker, and Socrates fully and freely entitled to his earnings as a sculptor, although the true business of each was not only something different, but ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 16 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... (96) Firstly, an ambiguity often arises in the Bible from our mistaking one letter for another similar one. (97) The Hebrews divide the letters of the alphabet into five classes, according to the five organs of the month employed in pronouncing them, namely, the lips, the tongue, the teeth, ...
— A Theologico-Political Treatise [Part II] • Benedict de Spinoza

... that this sudden 'good' ending looks like a concession and certainly is a constructive weakness, yet in the inwardness of the subject it is excellently motivated by the typically mediaeval attitude of Kolbein to salvation and the Church as its sole bestower. Notwithstanding the ambiguity of its victory, the Crozier has won. Another power than the moribund gods and the overstrained Teutonic conceptions of morality—the Law of the Sword—has conquered, even if by the help of conceptions almost as crude. And this well indicates the normal course ...
— Poet Lore, Volume XXIV, Number IV, 1912 • Various

... her own powers in penetrating the future, we have seen that Hilda had never consulted her oracles on the fate of Harold, without a dark and awful sense of the ambiguity of their responses. That fate, involving the mightiest interests of a great race, and connected with events operating on the farthest times and the remotest lands, lost itself to her prophetic ken amidst omens the most contradictory, shadows and lights the most ...
— Harold, Complete - The Last Of The Saxon Kings • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... arose civil society. With property came in inequality. His exposition of inequality is confused, and it is not possible always to tell whether he means inequality of possessions or of political rights. His contemporary, Morelly, who published the Basileade in 1753, was troubled by no such ambiguity. He accepts the doctrine that men are formed by laws, but holds that they are by nature good, and that laws, by establishing a division of the products of nature, broke up the sociability of men, and that all political and moral evils are the result of private ...
— Baddeck and That Sort of Thing • Charles Dudley Warner

... apt to result in ambiguity. But I understood. In Kennington Lane, the race of mere men and women appeared to be extinct. They were all gentlemen—unless they were ladies or children—even as the Liberian army was said to consist entirely of ...
— The Mystery of 31 New Inn • R. Austin Freeman

... not resign himself without a struggle to this state of anonymous ambiguity. His bewilderment was painful to witness. "If it were my name," he said, speaking slowly and not very clearly, "surely it would bring back the first name. I try to recall the word, and the effort is painful, and doesn't succeed." His hostess seemed much interested, even to the ...
— Somehow Good • William de Morgan

... ordinarily advisable. It violates the rule of never using italics or other emphasizing devices needlessly and is liable to mar the appearance of the page. It is sometimes necessary, however, to avoid ambiguity. For example, Julius Caesar is a historical personage, "Julius Caesar" is one of Shakespeare's plays, Julius Caesar is ...
— The Uses of Italic - A Primer of Information Regarding the Origin and Uses of Italic Letters • Frederick W. Hamilton

... shall have a living monument:] There is an ambiguity in this phrase. It either means an endurable monument such as will outlive time, or it darkly hints at the ...
— Hamlet • William Shakespeare

... valued in the capital, and we must believe that the language possesses an imperishable charm for Germans when we remember that this was the case so shortly after the glorious uprising against the terrible despotism of France. True, French, in addition to its melody and ambiguity, possesses more subtle turns and apt phrases than most other languages; and even the most German of Germans, our Bismarck, must recognize the fitness of its phrases, because he likes to avail himself ...
— Uarda • Georg Ebers

... of the Assyrians by the second. M. Halevy has translated an Assyrian text, whose meaning he thus epitomizes: "What becomes of the individual deposited in a tomb? A curious passage in one of the 'books' from the library of Assurbanipal answers this question, indirectly, indeed, but without any ambiguity. After death the vital and indestructible principle, the incorporeal spirit, is disengaged from the body; it is called in Assyrian ekimmou or egimmou.... The ekimmou inhabits the tomb and reposes upon the bed (zalalu) of the corpse. If well treated by the ...
— A History of Art in Chaldaea & Assyria, v. 1 • Georges Perrot

... have dreamed of. Thus my general position, that an opinion or belief is nothing but a strong and lively idea derived from a present impression related to it, maybe liable to the following objection, by reason of a little ambiguity in those words strong and lively. It may be said, that not only an impression may give rise to reasoning, but that an idea may also have the same influence; especially upon my principle, that all our ideas are ...
— A Treatise of Human Nature • David Hume

... by using the language of orthodoxy in a strained and non-natural sense, and only gradually to develop a distinctive terminology of its own; but, as often as not, certain ambiguous expressions, formerly taken in an orthodox sense, are abandoned by the faithful on account of their ambiguity and are then appropriated to the expression of heterodoxy, so that eventually by force of usage the heretical meaning comes to be the principal and natural meaning, and any other interpretation to seem violent and non-natural. ...
— The Faith of the Millions (2nd series) • George Tyrrell

... memory fails me, and I positively cannot recollect whether his hero was sliding or walking; as though a writer should describe a skirmish, and the reader, at the end, be still uncertain whether it were a charge of cavalry or a slow and stubborn advance of foot. There could be no such ambiguity in Burns; his work is at the opposite pole from such indefinite and stammering performances; and a whole lifetime passed in the study of Shenstone would only lead a man further and further from writing the "Address to a Louse." Yet Burns, like most great artists, proceeded from ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 3 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... did not, however, prevail among the Romans, and Marius Victorinus gives it as his opinion that it is better to use N than G, as more correct to the ear, and avoiding ambiguity (the GG being then left for the natural expression ...
— The Roman Pronunciation of Latin • Frances E. Lord

... thought which afforded even the shadow of ingenuity, he gave unlimited scope to the exercise of an active and fruitful imagination. In respect to composition, he is likewise liable to censure. At one time he wearies, and at another tantalises the reader, with the prolixity or ambiguity of his preambles. His prelusive sentiments are sometimes far-fetched, and converge not with a natural declination into the focus of epigram. In dispensing praise and censure, he often seems to be governed more by prejudice or policy, than by justice ...
— The Lives Of The Twelve Caesars, Complete - To Which Are Added, His Lives Of The Grammarians, Rhetoricians, And Poets • C. Suetonius Tranquillus

... this matter would no doubt be less, were it not for an ambiguity in the meaning of the word "efficient" itself. There is a kind of efficiency in managing men, and there also is an intellectual efficiency, properly speaking, which is quite a different faculty. The former is more likely ...
— The Unpopular Review, Volume II Number 3 • Various

... allow me, Pyrophilus, for the avoiding of Ambiguity, to imploy the Word Pigments, to signifie such prepared materials (as Cochinele, Vermilion, Orpiment,) as Painters, Dyers and other Artificers make use of to impart or imitate particular Colours, I shall be the better understood in divers passages of the following papers, and particularly ...
— Experiments and Considerations Touching Colours (1664) • Robert Boyle

... these cities were called the land of Cabul; which name, if it be interpreted according to the language of the Phoenicians, denotes what does not please. Moreover, the king of Tyre sent sophisms and enigmatical sayings to Solomon, and desired he would solve them, and free them from the ambiguity that was in them. Now so sagacious and understanding was Solomon, that none of these problems were too hard for him; but he conquered them all by his reasonings, and discovered their hidden meaning, and brought it to ...
— The Antiquities of the Jews • Flavius Josephus

... submitted to the people was isolated from all others with a completeness scarcely ever practicable—a circumstance which rendered the "mandate" to Parliament to maintain the legislative union exceptionally free from ambiguity. The party which had brought forward the defeated proposal, although led by a statesman of unrivalled popularity, authority, and power, was shattered in the attempt to carry it, and lost the support of numbers of its most conspicuous adherents, including Chamberlain, Hartington, Goschen, ...
— Ulster's Stand For Union • Ronald McNeill

... the next place, the ambiguity belongs only to the English word—it is impossible to make the mistake in the original: the word which stands for were, is a word which does not imply a continued state, but must imply a single finished act. It cannot by any possibility ...
— Sermons Preached at Brighton - Third Series • Frederick W. Robertson

... the divinity as a scapegoat clears up the ambiguity which, as we saw, appears to hang about the European folk-custom of "carrying out Death." Grounds have been shown for believing that in this ceremony the so-called Death was originally the spirit of vegetation, ...
— The Golden Bough - A study of magic and religion • Sir James George Frazer

... furnished by all parts of the vertebral skeleton—whether we have regard to Fishes, Reptiles, Birds, or Mammals—is cumulative and consistent. Nowhere do we meet with any deviation or ambiguity, while everywhere we encounter similar proofs of continuous transformation—proofs which vary only with the varying amount of material which happens to be at our disposal, being most numerous and detailed in those cases where the greatest number of fossil forms has been preserved by the geological ...
— Darwin, and After Darwin (Vol. 1 and 3, of 3) • George John Romanes

... Spain. I believe the amendment proposed by my colleague, Mr. PASTORIN, Delegate of Spain, does not apply to the amendment of the Delegate of Sweden, but to the original resolution. In order to avoid all ambiguity it would be much better to discuss them one after the other. Therefore let us decide the question whether it is better to count up to 180 deg. in each direction or up to 360 deg. continuously. Then we can go on to ...
— International Conference Held at Washington for the Purpose of Fixing a Prime Meridian and a Universal Day. October, 1884. • Various

... of directness is not merely a negative quality. It also results from a consciousness of the indefiniteness of the ground of all things, from the awe of the ambiguity of all that is. If Erasmus so often hovers over the borderline between earnestness and mockery, if he hardly ever gives an incisive conclusion, it is not only due to cautiousness, and fear to commit himself. ...
— Erasmus and the Age of Reformation • Johan Huizinga

... possible, including any idiosyncrasies and inconsistencies in the spelling and accenting of words. Changes have only been made in the case of obvious typographical errors and where it was felt necessary to remove ambiguity or improve readability. All ...
— British Borneo - Sketches of Brunai, Sarawak, Labuan, and North Borneo • W. H. Treacher

... subject of marriage, so perpetually moved to her both by her parliament and by foreign princes, Elizabeth still preserved a cautious ambiguity of language, well exemplified in the following passage: "The duke of Wirtemburg, a German protestant prince, had lately friendly offered his service to the queen, in case she were minded to marry. To which, January 27th she gave him this courteous and princely ...
— Memoirs of the Court of Queen Elizabeth • Lucy Aikin

... not naturally distinguish metal and mettle in pronunciation, tho' when there is any danger of ambiguity I say metal for the former and met'l for the latter; and I should probably do so (without thinking about it) in a public speech. In my young days the people about me usually pronounced met'l for both. ...
— Society for Pure English Tract 4 - The Pronunciation of English Words Derived from the Latin • John Sargeaunt

... place in the world, could quite fail them: a state of things sagely perceived to be involved in an hierarchical, an aristocratic order. Just whereabouts in the order Mrs. Lowder had established her niece was a question not wholly void, as yet, no doubt, of ambiguity—though Milly was withal sure Lord Mark could exactly have fixed the point if he would, fixing it at the same time for Aunt Maud herself; but it was clear that Mrs. Condrip was, as might have been ...
— The Wings of the Dove, Volume 1 of 2 • Henry James

... cause, and obtaining forgiveness for his indiscretion. He did not judge it safe to go into any detail concerning the circumstances by which he had been misled, and upon the whole endeavoured to express himself with such ambiguity that, if the letter should fall into wrong hands, it would be difficult either to understand its real purport or to trace the writer. This letter the old man undertook faithfully to deliver to his daughter at Woodbourne; ...
— Guy Mannering, or The Astrologer, Complete, Illustrated • Sir Walter Scott

... humane minds is Perspicuous Words, but by exact definitions first snuffed, and purged from ambiguity; Reason is the Pace; Encrease of Science, the Way; and the Benefit of man-kind, the End. And on the contrary, Metaphors, and senslesse and ambiguous words, are like Ignes Fatui; and reasoning upon them, is wandering amongst innumerable ...
— Leviathan • Thomas Hobbes

... likewise lost by homophony with 1 mead meadow and 2 mead metheglin: and it is a very serious loss. No. 1 is almost extinct except among farmers and hay merchants, but the absurd ambiguity of No. 2 ...
— Society for Pure English, Tract 3 (1920) - A Few Practical Suggestions • Society for Pure English

... Tory will deny that these principles had, five hundred years ago, acquired the authority of fundamental rules. On the other hand, no candid Whig will affirm that they were, till a later period, cleared from all ambiguity, or followed out to all their consequences. A constitution of the middle ages was not, like a constitution of the eighteenth or nineteenth century, created entire by a single act, and fully set forth in a single document. It is only ...
— The History of England from the Accession of James II. - Volume 1 (of 5) • Thomas Babington Macaulay

... it, as culture, at all. To find the real ground for the very differing estimate which serious people will set upon culture, we must find some motive for culture in the terms of which [6] may lie a real ambiguity; and such a motive the word curiosity gives us. I have before now pointed out that in English we do not, like the foreigners, use this word in a good sense as well as in a bad sense; with us the word is always ...
— Culture and Anarchy • Matthew Arnold

... 'of that God and his commandments they care to know but little.' This sounds ambiguous, and would appear at first sight as if the confidence betwixt the creators and their God had been but slight. Perhaps the ambiguity may be set down to the translator* who turned the Latin in which the memoirs first were formed into ...
— A Vanished Arcadia, • R. B. Cunninghame Graham

... much that some ambiguity in my language (S.R. I. p. 483) should have misled, and given Dr Lightfoot much trouble. I used the word 'quotation' in the sense of a use of the Epistle of Peter, and not in reference to any one sentence in Polycarp. ...
— Essays on "Supernatural Religion" • Joseph B. Lightfoot

... point in the play, there has been a noticeable ambiguity as to the person of Dionysus, the main figure of the piece; he is in part Dionysus, indeed; but in part, only his messenger, or minister preparing his way; a certain harshness of effect in the actual appearance of a god upon the stage being in this way relieved, or made easy, as by a gradual revelation ...
— Greek Studies: A Series of Essays • Walter Horatio Pater

... one of the two princes murdered in the tower. He is also occasionally spoken of as a son of Clarence, and sometimes as an illegitimate son of Richard III.—any royal personage, in fact, whose age happened to suit. In spite of the slight ambiguity which overhung his princely origin, he was received with high honour in Cork, and having appealed to the Earls of Desmond and Kildare, was accepted by the former with open arms. "You Irish would crown apes!" Henry afterwards said, not indeed unwarrantably. ...
— The Story Of Ireland • Emily Lawless

... that we are here playing upon an ambiguity in the word Reason;—considered in the first clause as an argument; and in the second, as the characteristic endowment of our species. The distinction between Reason and Reasoning (though most important) does ...
— Reason and Faith; Their Claims and Conflicts • Henry Rogers

... Also, a month later, I must have a special power of attorney to transfer the income in the Funds. When that stands in my name, you and I have an equal interest in marrying each other. There it all is, my beautiful aunt, as plain as day. Between you and me there must be no ambiguity. I can marry my aunt at the end of a year's widowhood; but I could not marry ...
— The Two Brothers • Honore de Balzac

... it a good and honourable reputation in the whole world. When we make experiments in lies and deception, intrigue and low cunning, we suffer hopeless and brutal failure. Our lies are coarse and improbable, our ambiguity is pitiful simplicity. The history of the War proves this by a hundred examples. When our enemies poured all these things upon us like a hailstorm, and we convinced ourselves of the effectiveness of such tactics, we tried to imitate them. But these tactics will not fit the German. We ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 153, Oct. 17, 1917 • Various

... of the tariff question, Mr. Bigelow assumes it as a settled principle of national policy that revenue should be raised by duties on imports. To clear the ground from ambiguity, he states exactly what he means when he uses the terms "free-trade" and "protection," and then proceeds to describe and explain the tariff-policy of Great Britain. Not without good reason does he give this prominence ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Volume 10, Number 59, September, 1862 • Various

... tangible object, it hath no fixed and determinate greatness. Whenever, therefore, we speak of the magnitude of anything, for instance a tree or a house, we must mean the tangible magnitude, otherwise there can be nothing steady and free from ambiguity spoken of it. But though the tangible and visible magnitude in truth belong to two distinct objects: I shall nevertheless (especially since those objects are called by the same name, and are observed to ...
— An Essay Towards a New Theory of Vision • George Berkeley

... knowing where to find underwriters who would choose to insure them, and not finding it convenient to a purse like mine to run any hazard, even upon the credit of my own ingenuity, I was very much in doubt for some weeks whether any bookseller would be willing to subject himself to an ambiguity that might prove very expensive in case of a bad market. But Johnson has heroically set all peradventures at defiance, and takes the whole charge upon himself. So out I come. I shall be glad of my ...
— The Best of the World's Classics, Restricted to Prose, Vol. IV (of X)—Great Britain and Ireland II • Various

... terms are removed from physical objects, the more opportunity is there for ambiguity. In the realm of politics and morals, as Socrates was fond of pointing out, the chief difficulties and misunderstandings of men have come from the ambiguities of the terms they use. "Justice," "liberty," "democracy," "good," "true," "beautiful," these have been immemorial bones of contention ...
— Human Traits and their Social Significance • Irwin Edman

... thesis that 'Man is the measure of all things.' The interpretation which Protagoras himself is supposed to give of these latter words is: 'Things are to me as they appear to me, and to you as they appear to you.' But there remains still an ambiguity both in the text and in the explanation, which has to be cleared up. Did Protagoras merely mean to assert the relativity of knowledge to the human mind? Or did he mean to deny that there is an objective ...
— Theaetetus • Plato

... minister at a time when the itinerant minister was supposed to know all there was to know about horse-flesh. This was his remark: "There was never a flea-bitten mare that was a poor horse." In spite of its ambiguity, the saying made an impression from which I never recovered. I always expected great things from ...
— The Fat of the Land - The Story of an American Farm • John Williams Streeter

... encouraged her to be extravagant. She thought that perhaps he would find her ankles worth a moment—if she took pains with them. Anyhow, he was worth dressing for. James never noticed anything—or if he did, his ambiguity was two-edged. "Extraordinary hat," he might say, and drop his eyeglass, which always gave an air of finality to comments of the sort. But her shopping done, for Lancelot's sake, life stretched before her a grey waste. She went back to tea, to a novel, to a weekly paper full of photographs ...
— Love and Lucy • Maurice Henry Hewlett

... its ambiguity of sex and in spite of its irregular metre, I find, with Mr. Ellwanger, more force of poetry in Hood's ode than in Keats's; and this in spite of one's prejudice in favour of the greater poet. It came on me with a small shock therefore to find that Mr. Bridges, ...
— From a Cornish Window - A New Edition • Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

... is not a Real Presence, and assuming their own interpretation of the phrase to be the only true one, press into their service the testimony of divines who, though using the phrase, apply it in a sense the reverse of theirs. The ambiguity of the phrase, and its misapplication by the Church of Rome, have induced many of our divines ...
— The Profits of Religion, Fifth Edition • Upton Sinclair

... the discussion in the Senate upon the resolution of inquiry presented by Mr. Douglas, Mr. Clayton, then Senator from Delaware, admitted that the ambiguity of the treaty is so great, that on some future occasion a conventional article, clearly stating what are the limits of the Central America named in the treaty, ...
— The Bay State Monthly, Volume 3, No. 1 • Various

... White Oak Swamp, Richard Cleave considered the order he had received. He found an ambiguity in the wording, a choice of constructions. He half turned to send the courier again to Winder, to make absolutely sure that the construction which he strongly preferred was correct. As he did so, though he could not see ...
— The Long Roll • Mary Johnston

... reassuringly easy to keep Trenor in a good humour. To listen to his stories, to receive his confidences and laugh at his jokes, seemed for the moment all that was required of her, and the complacency with which her hostess regarded these attentions freed them of the least hint of ambiguity. Mrs. Trenor evidently assumed that Lily's growing intimacy with her husband was simply an indirect way of ...
— House of Mirth • Edith Wharton

... had set in: the fact that Laube was concerned in no sort of political work, but had devoted himself merely to literary activity, always aiming simply at aesthetic objects, made the action of the police quite incomprehensible to us for the time being. The disgusting ambiguity with which the Leipzig authorities answered all his questions as to the cause of his expulsion soon gave him the strongest suspicions as to what their ...
— My Life, Volume I • Richard Wagner

... Such is the ambiguity of language that we have already used the term 'inference' in three different senses—first, for the act or process of inferring; secondly, for the result of that act as it exists in the mind; and, thirdly, for the same thing as expressed in language. ...
— Deductive Logic • St. George Stock

... The ambiguity of his remark was lost upon the Indian. She heard the laugh and needed no more. She rose and began to clear the table, while Nevil stood in the open doorway and gazed out into ...
— The Watchers of the Plains - A Tale of the Western Prairies • Ridgewell Cullum

... Christian religion." This was most unfortunately worded, but, however, the clause had obtained the sanction of the English Government, and the Czar expressed his willingness to accept it. Lord Stratford, however, saw the danger underlying the ambiguity of the language, and, under his advice, the Porte proposed as an amendment the substitution of the words "to the stipulations of the Treaty of Kainardji, confirmed by that of Adrianople, relative to the protection by the ...
— The Letters of Queen Victoria, Vol 2 (of 3), 1844-1853 • Queen Victoria

... a man of method and despatch, clear-headed and singularly free from prejudice, ambiguity, or hesitation. He was honest and frank in council, as he was gallant on the quarter-deck. The Intendant was not a whit behind him in point of ability and knowledge of the political affairs of the colony, and surpassed him in influence ...
— The Golden Dog - Le Chien d'Or • William Kirby

... surmised that our sterling young candidate for district attorney had not yet become skilled in dalliance with the equivocal; that he was no adept in ambiguity; that he would confront all issues with a rugged valiance susceptible of no misconstruction; that, in short, George Remington ...
— The Sturdy Oak - A Composite Novel of American Politics by Fourteen American Authors • Samuel Merwin, et al.

... of Clement's character, whose behavior always contained so much duplicity, and who was at present so little at his own disposal. The safest measure seemed to consist in previously engaging him so far, that he could not afterwards recede, and in making use of his present ambiguity and uncertainty, to extort the most important concessions from him. For this purpose, Stephen Gardiner, the cardinal's secretary, and Edward Fox, the king's almoner, were despatched to Rome, and were ordered to solicit a commission from the pope, of such a nature as would oblige him to confirm the ...
— The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.I., Part C. - From Henry VII. to Mary • David Hume

... other people who have not got it. No serious man would call this culture, or attach any value to it, as culture, at all. To find the real ground for the very differing estimate which serious people will set upon culture, we must find some motive for culture in the terms of which may lie a real ambiguity; and such a motive the ...
— Selections from the Prose Works of Matthew Arnold • Matthew Arnold

... syntax. (Think of the use of the subjunctive and infinitive in all languages: on and me in Greek; indirect speech in Latin; negatives, comparisons, etc., etc., in all languages.) Esperanto—none. Common sense the only guide, and no ambiguity in practice. The perfect limpidity of Esperanto, with no syntactical rules, is a most instructive proof of the conventionality and arbitrariness of the niceties of syntax in national languages. After all, the subjunctive ...
— International Language - Past, Present and Future: With Specimens of Esperanto and Grammar • Walter J. Clark

... mental. We can think of a universal, and our thinking then exists in a perfectly ordinary sense, like any other mental act. Suppose, for example, that we are thinking of whiteness. Then in one sense it may be said that whiteness is 'in our mind'. We have here the same ambiguity as we noted in discussing Berkeley in Chapter IV. In the strict sense, it is not whiteness that is in our mind, but the act of thinking of whiteness. The connected ambiguity in the word 'idea', which we noted at the same time, also causes confusion here. In ...
— The Problems of Philosophy • Bertrand Russell

... each other? And who is to distinguish such a process from the state of war? In such international—or, I should say, interparochial—differences, the nearest we can come towards understanding is to appreciate the cloud of ambiguity in which ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 17 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... imperative; it is manifested at each economic phase with increasing energy and an invincible authority. Therefore you must satisfy labor and justice at once; you must give to the former guarantees more and more real, and secure the latter without concession or ambiguity. ...
— The Philosophy of Misery • Joseph-Pierre Proudhon

... before his departure for Africa, where he met a glorious death, drew a note of hand, payable to Mademoiselle Antonia on order, for ten thousand francs, "value received in furniture," a charming ambiguity, the furniture having been received by, and not from, Mademoiselle Chocardelle, who estimated at ten thousand francs the sacrifice she made ...
— The Deputy of Arcis • Honore de Balzac

... which so often occur in this passage—'Invariable, continual, immutable, inevitable, irresistible.' There is an ambiguity in these words, which may lead—which I believe does lead—to most unphilosophical conclusions. They are used very much as synonyms; not merely in this passage, but in the mouths of men. Are you aware that those who carelessly do so, blink the whole ...
— The Roman and the Teuton - A Series of Lectures delivered before the University of Cambridge • Charles Kingsley

... shall be forty-three next month, but hitherto I have known it to produce nothing like you,' he returned, and if there was ambiguity in his phrase there was none ...
— The Pool in the Desert • Sara Jeannette Duncan

... reasonable satisfaction of boards of registrars was found, both in its object as well as in the manner of its administration, to be contrary to the Fifteenth Amendment. The legislative history of the adoption of the Alabama provision disclosed that "the ambiguity inherent in the phrase 'understand and explain' * * * was purposeful * * * and was intended as a grant of arbitrary power in an attempt to obviate the consequences of" ...
— The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation • Edward Corwin

... line together and engage on the opposite side. No. 33. To break through the enemy's line in succession and engage on the other side.' Had these two lucid significations been adopted by Howe there would have been no possible ambiguity ...
— Fighting Instructions, 1530-1816 - Publications Of The Navy Records Society Vol. XXIX. • Julian S. Corbett

... of technical terms. Ambiguity of the terms Rotation and Revolution, owing to the double meaning improperly {20} attributed to each of the words. (No date nor place, but by Mr. Perigal,[42] I have no doubt, and containing letters of ...
— A Budget of Paradoxes, Volume II (of II) • Augustus de Morgan

... thing; the more so because the poetry we have grown accustomed to, in our generation, is so different from this; so mystical and subjective, so remote from the crowd, so dim with the trailing mists of fanciful ambiguity. ...
— Suspended Judgments - Essays on Books and Sensations • John Cowper Powys

... apostolorum, quam venerabilis Herbertus, praedecessor meus, coepit, perfeci, studiose adornavi, honorifice dedicavi, et cultoribus necessariisque divino servitio vasis aliisque apparatibus copiose ditavi.'—Language of this kind appears too explicit to leave room for ambiguity, but an opinion has still prevailed, founded probably upon the style of the architecture, that the cathedral was not finished till near the expiration of the thirteenth century. Admitting, however, such to be the fact, I do not see how it will materially ...
— Architectural Antiquities of Normandy • John Sell Cotman

... was a hero without the laurel as well as a martyr without the crown. The light of which possibility is, however, too fierce; I turn it off, I tear myself from the view—noting further but the one fact in his history that, by my glimpse of it, quite escapes ambiguity. The youthful Albert, I have mentioned, was to resist successfully through those years that solicitation of "Europe" our own response to which, both as a general and a particular solution, kept breaking out in choral wails; but the ...
— A Small Boy and Others • Henry James

... It is quite possible to construct sentences in such a way as to avoid their use. The result is a harsh and awkward style, unwarranted by any necessity. Ordinary writing needs some use of commas to indicate the sense and to prevent ambiguity. ...
— Punctuation - A Primer of Information about the Marks of Punctuation and - their Use Both Grammatically and Typographically • Frederick W. Hamilton

... prevented his alarming the others and announcing to Paredes and Doctor Groom his unlawful presence in the room. During the moment that the shock held him, silent, motionless, bent in the darkness above the bed, he understood there could have been no ambiguity about his ghastly and loathsome experience. The dead detective had altered his position as Silas Blackburn had done, and this time someone had been in the room and suffered the appalling change. Bobby's fingers ...
— The Abandoned Room • Wadsworth Camp

... Christmas Eve, and as a faithful historian I give the exact words. It sounded like swearing, though why we should regard it profane to make free with the devil's name, or even his nickname, I never could see. Can you? Besides, there was some ambiguity about Charley's use of the word under the circumstances, and he himself couldn't tell whether his exclamation had reference to the Author of Evils or only to the Author of Novels. The circumstances were calculated to suggest equally thoughts ...
— Duffels • Edward Eggleston

... needle-work with my companion Emily, as was my habit, in the parlour, the door opened, and my cousin Edward entered the room. There was something, I thought, odd in his manner—a kind of struggle between shame and impudence—a kind of flurry and ambiguity which made him appear, if possible, ...
— The Purcell Papers - Volume II. (of III.) • Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

... three, and would point out that we simply did not know the usage of some word or phrase which would have been absolutely clear to a contemporary reader,' But Collins went on to say that there might also be a real ambiguity about the passage: and then he quoted the supposed remark of the bishop who declined to wear gaiters, and said, 'I shall wear no clothes to distinguish myself from my fellow-Christians.' This was printed in his biography, 'I shall wear no ...
— Father Payne • Arthur Christopher Benson

... numerous to mention, all this difference, I say, is co-extensive with America before and after taking the labor treatment. But what can we say of the politician and his doings during these years, stripped of all ambiguity, when we tell the unpolished, but plain truth, we must say he never advanced one iota until he was routed from his old position by the toiling masses. It is curious to note that every new social, political, and ...
— One Thousand Secrets of Wise and Rich Men Revealed • C. A. Bogardus

... of the Senate Judiciary Committee, machine claquers filled the air with the indefinite promise that in the event of the Wright bill becoming a law, a constitutional amendment would be adopted, by which all ambiguity in the State Constitution on the question of maximum and absolute rates would be removed. The amendment was then pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which finally ...
— Story of the Session of the California Legislature of 1909 • Franklin Hichborn

... yourself, ma'am," returned her victim, with unconscious ambiguity, and, closing the door behind her, returned to the parlour to try and think of some means of escaping from the position to which the ingenuity of Captain Nibletts, aided by that of Mrs. Banks, ...
— A Master Of Craft • W. W. Jacobs

... The ambiguity of his answer did not escape her. She puzzled over it while Silk ambled sedately behind the other horses. She hoped that Bill Wagstaff knew where he was going. If he did not—but she refused to entertain the alternative. And she began to watch eagerly ...
— North of Fifty-Three • Bertrand W. Sinclair

... was ambiguous, yet even out of its ambiguity we may read something. Achilles, the man of courage, was regarded as the hero of the Greeks, but this opinion must be contested, and wisdom must also have its place in the management of the war, before the hostile city can be taken. These two principles ...
— Homer's Odyssey - A Commentary • Denton J. Snider

... the hogshead of claret, which this society was favoured with by our friend the Dean[671], is nearly out; I think he should be written to, to send another of the same kind. Let the request be made with a happy ambiguity of expression, so that we may have the chance of his sending it also as a present.' JOHNSON. 'I am willing to offer my services as secretary on this occasion.' P. 'As many as are for Dr. Johnson being secretary hold ...
— Life Of Johnson, Vol. 3 • Boswell, Edited by Birkbeck Hill

... doctrinal and pastoral importance as those of the former kind; though the alarm which they may cause will often be greater, because the variation from ordinary belief is more easily apprehended by the mind, and, being a variation in fact, and not only in idea, cannot be concealed by any ambiguity in the use of theological terms, as may be the case in the former instances. Yet in the third of these three questions, this species of criticism may have a very intimate relation to practice; for it may so affect the rule of faith as to overthrow the standard on which ...
— History of Free Thought in Reference to The Christian Religion • Adam Storey Farrar

... to be accepted without any rigid examination of its meaning, as if the general idea of 'force' in our minds furnished an explanation of the infinite variety of forces which exist in the universe. A similar ambiguity occurs in the use of the favourite word 'law,' which is sometimes regarded as a mere abstraction, and then elevated into a real power or entity, almost taking the place of God. Theology, again, is full of undefined terms which have ...
— Parmenides • Plato

... spirit" resembles a stomach more than anything else). Here also belong an occasional propensity of the spirit to let itself be deceived (perhaps with a waggish suspicion that it is NOT so and so, but is only allowed to pass as such), a delight in uncertainty and ambiguity, an exulting enjoyment of arbitrary, out-of-the-way narrowness and mystery, of the too-near, of the foreground, of the magnified, the diminished, the misshapen, the beautified—an enjoyment of the arbitrariness of all these manifestations of power. ...
— Beyond Good and Evil • Friedrich Nietzsche

... omitted. For first, I conceive (though it may seem at first somewhat strange) that that part which is variably referred, sometimes to logic, sometimes to metaphysic, touching the common adjuncts of essences, is but an elenche; for the great sophism of all sophisms being equivocation or ambiguity of words and phrase, specially of such words as are most general and intervene in every inquiry, it seemeth to me that the true and fruitful use (leaving vain subtleties and speculations) of the inquiry of majority, minority, priority, posteriority, identity, diversity, possibility, ...
— The Advancement of Learning • Francis Bacon

... from the Holy See not only submission to his will, but the acceptance of his principles. The caution of the court of Rome irritated him more and more. He frightened Cardinal Caprara with a violent scene: "Write that I demand from his Holiness a declaration without ambiguity, stating that during the present war, and any other future war, all the ports of the pontifical states shall be closed to all English vessels, either of war or commerce. Without this I shall cause all the rest of the pontifical states to be occupied, I will have ...
— Worlds Best Histories - France Vol 7 • M. Guizot and Madame Guizot De Witt

... agree with the facts of the Gospel as it appears to us now? There is a certain ambiguity as to the phrase 'in order.' We cannot be quite sure what Papias meant by it, but the most natural conclusion seems to be that it meant chronological order. If so, the statement of Papias seems to be so far borne out that none of ...
— The Gospels in the Second Century - An Examination of the Critical Part of a Work - Entitled 'Supernatural Religion' • William Sanday

... time; but as he cannot prevail on himself to assume the dissimulation which is necessary to be well received in the world, he is perfectly in the right in preferring solitude to society. Rousseau has already censured the ambiguity of the piece, by which what is deserving of approbation seems to be turned into ridicule. His opinion was not altogether unprejudiced; for his own character, and his behaviour towards the world, had a striking similarity to that of Alceste; and, moreover, he mistakes the essence of ...
— Lectures on Dramatic Art - and Literature • August Wilhelm Schlegel trans John Black

... at this peculiarity to observe that in the ancient languages numerous examples occur of sentences, or clauses of sentences, in which the Substantive Verb is omitted, without occasioning any obscurity or ambiguity; and this in Prose as well as in Verse. Thus in Hebrew; Gen. xlii. 11, 13, 14. We [are] all one man's sons—we [are] true men—thy servants [are] twelve brethren—the youngest [is] with ...
— Elements of Gaelic Grammar • Alexander Stewart

... confessed that the Queen of Navarre herself gave no little aid and comfort to the advocates of timid and irresolute counsels, by a course singularly wanting in ingenuousness. This amiable princess knew how to express herself with such ambiguity as to perplex both religious parties and heartily satisfy neither the one side nor the other. She was the avowed friend and correspondent of Melanchthon and Calvin. She was believed to be in substantial agreement with the Protestants. Her views of the fundamental ...
— The Rise of the Hugenots, Vol. 1 (of 2) • Henry Martyn Baird

... no ambiguity or uncertainty about these pronouncements. The Old English "fyrd," or militia, was the nation in arms. The obligation to serve was a personal one. It had no relation to the possession of land; in fact it dated back to an age in which the folk was still migratory ...
— Freedom In Service - Six Essays on Matters Concerning Britain's Safety and Good Government • Fossey John Cobb Hearnshaw

... pronunciation was, in general, so indistinct, that it seldom happened that any two of us, in writing down the fame word, from the same mouth, made use of the same vowels in representing it. Nay, we even, very commonly, differed about consonants, the sounds of which are least liable to ambiguity. Besides all this, we found, by experience, that we had been led into strange corruptions of some of the most common words, either from the natives endeavouring to imitate us, or from our having misunderstood them. Thus, cheeto was ...
— A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Vol. 15 (of 18) • Robert Kerr

... character. Atavistic, sub-conscious revelations were in the face. It was to see, in terms of art, a scientific demonstration of race, temperament, and the results of their interplay with environment. The languors, the feverish indolences, the caprice of generations of Spanish exiles were there, and the ambiguity, the fierceness of Slav ancestry. And, subtly interwoven, were the marks of her public life upon her. The face, so moulded to indifference, was yet so aware of observation, so adjusted to it, so insatiable of it, that, sitting there, absorbed and brooding, lovely with her ...
— Tante • Anne Douglas Sedgwick

... Caution.—Often ambiguity may be prevented by changing the assumed subject of a participle from a nominative or an objective to ...
— Higher Lessons in English • Alonzo Reed and Brainerd Kellogg

... audiences of students. We are never left in any doubt as to his inner meaning. He always goes straight to the point. There are no equivocations or mental reservations. He has the brevity but none of the ambiguity of the lawgiver. There are no gaps in his reasoning. He moves from one point to another in orderly sequence. Our intellectual and artistic joy in following the severe and simple outline of his political system is only ...
— German Problems and Personalities • Charles Sarolea

... the slightest ambiguity about my position in this matter; in fact, if you will turn to one paper on the School Board written by me before my election in 1870, I think you will find that I anticipated the ...
— The Life and Letters of Thomas Henry Huxley Volume 2 • Leonard Huxley

... the Baron. It was so significantly said, that her face changed; and the schemer, fearful of the sinister ambiguity of his expressions, hastened to explain. 'This time he shall go hunting in a carriage, with a good escort of our foreign lancers. His destination shall be the Felsenburg; it is healthy, the rock is high, the windows are small and barred; it might have been built on ...
— Prince Otto • Robert Louis Stevenson

... change their minds at every breeze of every fresh hope which presents itself, giving themselves up wholly to the impulse and inclination of the moment; and, like brute beasts, they are utterly ignorant of the distinction between right and wrong. They express themselves with great ambiguity and obscurity; have no respect for any religion or superstition whatever; are immoderately covetous of gold; and are so fickle and irascible, that they very often on the same day that they quarrel with their companions without any provocation, ...
— The Roman History of Ammianus Marcellinus • Ammianus Marcellinus

... with a poetical word for the moon, and refers to the sun's warmth, as the other does to the whiteness of the moon. Thus the Bride in the Song of Solomon is described as "fair as the moon, clear as the sun." The third word has given use to some ambiguity. In the eighth chapter of Judges in the Authorized Version, it is stated that "Gideon, the son of Joash, returned from the battle before the sun was up," but in the Revised Version that he "returned from the battle from the ascent of Heres." There was a mount [H.]eres, a mount of the sun, ...
— The Astronomy of the Bible - An Elementary Commentary on the Astronomical References - of Holy Scripture • E. Walter Maunder

... Ambiguity is one of those intangible nothings that get into the atmosphere and have a trick of remaining there. Marie seemed in some subtle way to pervade the atmosphere of Msala. It would seem that Guy Oscard, in his thick-headed way, was conscious of this ...
— With Edged Tools • Henry Seton Merriman

... of size and shape. I find this contradiction dividing all my thought about books; they are objects, yes, completed and detached, but I recall them also as tracts of time, during which Clarissa and Anna moved and lived and endured in my view. Criticism is hampered by the ambiguity; the two books, the two aspects of the same book, blur each other; a critic seems to shift from this one to that, from the thing carved in the stuff of thought to the passing movement of life. And on the whole it is the latter aspect of the two which asserts itself; the first, ...
— The Craft of Fiction • Percy Lubbock

... which I have to speak is open to no such ambiguity; it remains among the few which are and will be of perpetual moment in our national history. The conduct of the pope had forced upon the parliament the reconsideration of the character of his supremacy; and when the question had once ...
— The Reign of Henry the Eighth, Volume 1 (of 3) • James Anthony Froude

... between two alternatives. Either they hold opinions which make it impossible that they should retain Orders in the Church of England, and yet be honest men; or they have expressed themselves with such culpable inaccuracy and ambiguity, as shews that they are altogether incompetent to handle the Science of Theology.—Gladly would one give them the benefit of a third alternative: but I see ...
— Inspiration and Interpretation - Seven Sermons Preached Before the University of Oxford • John Burgon

... told you, madam, that I will suffer Lord Fitz-Allen, yourself, any person to pass sentence, after having examined witnesses. Answer me in an open direct manner, Mr. Clifton, without ambiguity. Were you not the author ...
— Anna St. Ives • Thomas Holcroft

... involves three factors: (1) Freedom from ambiguity or obscurity of wording; (2) adaptation to the age and understanding of the ...
— The Recitation • George Herbert Betts

... been used for many different books. In case of ambiguity, the one known to have been published by Harper & Brothers in or before ...
— Publisher's Advertising (1872) • Anonymous

... A similar ambiguity is found in Lichter v. United States,[1277] but on the whole the opinion seems to espouse the second theory, as the following excerpts indicate: "A constitutional power implies a power of delegation of authority under it sufficient to effect its purposes.—This ...
— The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation • Edward Corwin

... equivocal, that the persons to whom it was addressed did not know whether or not they ought to interpret the contents into a challenge; when our hero observed, that the ambiguity of his expressions plainly proved there was a door left open for accommodation; and proposed that they should forthwith visit the writer at his own apartment. They accordingly followed his advice, ...
— The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom, Complete • Tobias Smollett

... special source of ambiguity in the catchword used by the revolutionary school. They spoke of a return to nature. What, to ask once more a very troublesome question, is meant by nature? Does it mean inanimate nature? If so, is a love of nature clearly good or 'natural?' Was Wordsworth justifiable prima ...
— Hours in a Library - New Edition, with Additions. Vol. II (of 3) • Leslie Stephen

... in the sentence demands that the arrangement and the construction of the sentence be clear and free from ambiguity. ...
— Practical Grammar and Composition • Thomas Wood

... of each passage is marked in the notes by printing each word which commences a line with an initial capital letter. In the Folios, many substantives, other than proper names or titles, are printed with initial capitals; but, in order to avoid ambiguity, we have generally made our quotations conform, in this respect, ...
— The Works of William Shakespeare [Cambridge Edition] [9 vols.] - Introduction and Publisher's Advertising • William Shakespeare

... draw the net to shore afterwards divide between the worthless and vile of its contents. The net "was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away." There is no ambiguity here; the drawers are also the dividers. I suppose none will take advantage of the impersonal form in which the casting of the net is expressed, and assume that while one class, representing a human ministry, ...
— The Parables of Our Lord • William Arnot

... when he objects, usually attempts a few other suggestions which may be considered by the judge, such as "the question is leading and suggestive; grossly improper; calling for a conclusion; objected to as argumentative or because of its ambiguity." ...
— The Man in Court • Frederic DeWitt Wells

... Army don't pretend to pattern very close on the other—not in discipline, anyhow," said Mr. Harris with ambiguity. "But you'll find Ensign Sand very willing to do anything she can for you. She's a ...
— Hilda - A Story of Calcutta • Sara Jeannette Duncan

... that I could think, as does my friend, That ambiguity of sentiment Informed the utterance of the noble lord [As oft does ambiguity of word], I might with satisfied and sure resolve Vote straight for the Address. But eyeing well The flimsy web there woven to entrap ...
— The Dynasts - An Epic-Drama Of The War With Napoleon, In Three Parts, - Nineteen Acts, And One Hundred And Thirty Scenes • Thomas Hardy

... of the whole psalm, our text describes the subjects as an army. That military metaphor comes out more clearly when we attach the true meaning to the words, 'in the day of Thy power.' The word rendered, and rightly rendered, 'power,' has the same ambiguity which that word has in the English of the date of our translation, and for a century later, as you may find in Shakespeare and Milton, who both used it in the sense of 'army.' Singularly enough we do not ...
— Expositions Of Holy Scripture - Volume I: St. Luke, Chaps. I to XII • Alexander Maclaren

... doubt; doubtfulness &c adj.; dubiety, dubitation^, dubitancy^, dubitousness^. hesitation, suspense; perplexity, embarrassment, dilemma, bewilderment; timidity &c (fear) 860; vacillation &c 605; diaporesis^, indetermination. vagueness &c adj.; haze, fog; obscurity &c (darkness) 421; ambiguity &c (double meaning) 520; contingency, dependence, dependency, double contingency, possibility upon a possibility; open question &c (question) 461; onus probandi [Lat.]; blind bargain, pig in a poke, leap in the dark, something or other; needle in a haystack, needle ...
— Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases: Body • Roget

... policy, his countrymen, the Genoese, were always suspected, and often guilty. * Note: M. Brosset has given some extracts from the Georgian account of the siege of Constantinople, in which Justiniani's wound in the left foot is represented as more serious. With charitable ambiguity the chronicler adds that his soldiers carried him away ...
— The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire - Volume 6 • Edward Gibbon

... to have translated his work from the English of one Mr. D'Avisson (Davidson?) although there is a terrible ambiguity in the statement. "J' en ai eu," says he "l'original de Monsieur D'Avisson, medecin des mieux versez qui soient aujourd'huy dans la cnoissance des Belles Lettres, et sur tout de la Philosophic Naturelle. Je lui ai cette obligation entre les autres, de m' auoir non seulement ...
— The Works of Edgar Allan Poe - Volume 1 (of 5) of the Raven Edition • Edgar Allan Poe

... people must be so strong that all questions of convenience, of enjoyment, of prestige and of material interests must sink far into the background. This word must sound so that all who hear it can look in each other's eyes with a full mutual understanding and without the slightest sense of ambiguity; just as they do in Japan when the name of the common head of all families, the Mikado, is named. There must be one thing in Germany and it must be this thing, which is altogether out of reach of ...
— The New Society • Walther Rathenau



Words linked to "Ambiguity" :   evasiveness, prevarication, unclearness, no man's land, unequivocalness, locution, lexical ambiguity, ambiguous, equivocation, expression, amphibology, equivocalness, twilight zone, saying, unambiguity, double entendre, polysemy, amphiboly, parisology, loophole



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