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Ambiguity   /ˌæmbɪgjˈuəti/   Listen
Ambiguity

noun
(pl. ambiguities)
1.
An expression whose meaning cannot be determined from its context.
2.
Unclearness by virtue of having more than one meaning.  Synonym: equivocalness.



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"Ambiguity" Quotes from Famous Books



... place special creation in antagonism to evolution is really to use an ambiguous phraseology. No doubt it is not easy to find the proper phraseology. Some have employed the terms "immediate" and "mediate," to which also a certain amount of ambiguity is attached. Perhaps "direct" and "derivative" might convey more accurate ideas; but whatever terminology we adopt, we are still safe in saying that whether God makes things or makes them make themselves He is creating them and specially ...
— Science and Morals and Other Essays • Bertram Coghill Alan Windle

... 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, ...
— With Edged Tools • Henry Seton Merriman

... 1. Imagination contemplative is not part of the essence, but only a habit or mode of the faculty. 192 Sec. 2. The ambiguity of conception. 192 Sec. 3. Is not in itself capable of adding to the charm of fair things. 193 Sec. 4. But gives to the imagination its regardant power over them. 194 Sec. 5. The third office of fancy distinguished from imagination ...
— Modern Painters Volume II (of V) • John Ruskin

... in Gibbon, with a malicious. The foppish irony fretting to be seen, and the irony which leers, that you shall not mistake its intention, are failures in satiric effort pretending to the treasures of ambiguity. ...
— The Shaving of Shagpat • George Meredith

... influence of this divine power, the Daemonion, as he calls it. He shows how the Deity visits the sins of the ancestors upon their descendants, how man rushes, as it were, wilfully upon his own destruction, and how oracles mislead by their ambiguity, when interpreted by blind passion. He shows his awe of the divine Nemesis by his moderation and the firmness with which he keeps down the ebullitions of national pride. He points out traits of greatness of character in the ...
— Handbook of Universal Literature - From The Best and Latest Authorities • Anne C. Lynch Botta

... 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 ...
— International Conference Held at Washington for the Purpose of Fixing a Prime Meridian and a Universal Day. October, 1884. • Various

... pattern was in use among the southern patriarchs. Why did he not, in plain words, and sober earnest, and good faith, describe the thing as it was, instead of employing honied words and courtly phrases, to set forth with all becoming vagueness and ambiguity what might possibly be supposed to exist in ...
— The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Omnibus • American Anti-Slavery Society

... ought always to be free from the nine verbal faults and the nine faults of judgment. It should also, while setting forth the meaning with perspicuity, be possessed of the eighteen well-known merits.[1688] Ambiguity, ascertainment of the faults and merits of premises and conclusions, weighing the relative strength or weakness of those faults and merits, establishment of the conclusion, and the element of persuasiveness or otherwise that attaches to the conclusion thus arrived at,—these five characteristics ...
— The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 3 - Books 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 • Unknown

... The ambiguity and unsatisfactory vagueness in what I have been attempting to indicate may perhaps be in a measure dissipated by a direct appeal to concrete experience. When one analyses this emotion of love in relation to any actual human ...
— The Complex Vision • John Cowper Powys

... kingdom of Egypt. [60] [601] The emperor Claudius acknowledged her merit, and was content, that, while he pursued the Gothic war, she should assert the dignity of the empire in the East. [61] The conduct, however, of Zenobia, was attended with some ambiguity; not is it unlikely that she had conceived the design of erecting an independent and hostile monarchy. She blended with the popular manners of Roman princes the stately pomp of the courts of Asia, and exacted from her subjects the same adoration that was paid to the successor of Cyrus. She bestowed ...
— The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire - Volume 1 • Edward Gibbon

... forth, we cause them to withdraw. Even when we undertake to love others, we may do it in ways that hurt them, because we love them for selfish reasons. Human relationships, in themselves, are ambiguous, and we need deliverance from the ambiguity of them, for these relationships can either destroy ...
— Herein is Love • Reuel L. Howe

... 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 ...
— The Testimony of the Rocks - or, Geology in Its Bearings on the Two Theologies, Natural and Revealed • Hugh Miller

... he would never 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 derived from correspondent ...
— A Treatise of Human Nature • David Hume

... it be said 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 not affect our statement; for though Reason may be exercised where ...
— Reason and Faith; Their Claims and Conflicts • Henry Rogers

... vi., pp. 311. 446.; Vol. vii., p. 216.).—Will you allow me to correct a mistake into which both the correspondents who have kindly answered my questions respecting this galliard seem to have fallen, perhaps misled by an ambiguity ...
— Notes and Queries, Number 180, April 9, 1853 • Various

... in which he took up his Sussex curacy, the Tracts for the Times had begun to appear at Oxford. The 'Oxford Movement', in fact, had started on its course. The phrase is still familiar; but its meaning has become somewhat obscured both by the lapse of time and the intrinsic ambiguity of the subjects connected with it. Let us borrow for a moment the wings of Historic Imagination, and, hovering lightly over the Oxford of the thirties, ...
— Eminent Victorians • Lytton Strachey

... 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 yawning, blinking and grinning scepticism of the coffee-house, and of the belching ...
— The New Society • Walther Rathenau

... it be right to set down every painter for a great man, the moment we find he is clear; for there is a hard and vulgar intelligibility of nothingness, just as there is an ambiguity of nothingness. And as often, in conversation, a man who speaks but badly and indistinctly has, nevertheless, got much to say; and a man who speaks boldly and plainly may yet say what is little ...
— Modern Painters, Volume IV (of V) • John Ruskin

... 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 of other books. The Second Broad Church appears to hold that it differs in degree ...
— History of Rationalism Embracing a Survey of the Present State of Protestant Theology • John F. Hurst

... reign of James was over Sir George Calvert obtained a charter for Avalon, in Newfoundland, the ambiguity of whose terms made it possible to take Catholic priests and settlers there; and in 1632 he received in exchange for this a charter for Maryland, under which Catholics held all official positions and Jesuit missionaries carried on their work. The British island of Montserrat, ...
— European Background Of American History - (Vol. I of The American Nation: A History) • Edward Potts Cheyney

... moment the nature of Pe-lung's reflection was clouded in ambiguity, though the fact that he became entirely enveloped in a dense purple vapour indicated feelings of more than usual vigour. When this cleared away it left his outer form unchanged indeed, but the affable condescension of his manner was merged into ...
— Kai Lung's Golden Hours • Ernest Bramah

... be needed when the simpler form would be ambiguous, i.e., when its subject might be taken to name either the actor or the receiver; as, The child is whipping; The prisoner is trying. Introduced only to prevent ambiguity, the so-called neologism has pushed its way, and is found where the old form would not be ambiguous. As now used, the new form stands to the old in about the ratio ...
— Higher Lessons in English • Alonzo Reed and Brainerd Kellogg

... it is so unusual among the gentlemen who have opposed my opinion to recommend an exertion of the regal authority, or willingly to intrust any power to the administration, that, though they have on this occasion expressed their sentiments without any ambiguity of language, or perplexity of ideas, I am in doubt whether I do not mistake their meaning, and cannot, without hesitation and uncertainty, propose the motion to which all their arguments seem necessarily to conduct me; arguments of which I do not deny the force, and which I shall ...
— The Works of Samuel Johnson, Vol. 10. - Parlimentary Debates I. • Samuel Johnson

... 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 was ...
— The Sturdy Oak - A Composite Novel of American Politics by Fourteen American Authors • Samuel Merwin, et al.

... how one sentiment produces another, easily believes that he can clearly express what he so strongly comprehends; he seldom suspects his thoughts of embarrassment, while he preserves in his own memory the series of connection, or his diction of ambiguity, while only one sense is present to his mind. Yet if he has been employed on an abstruse, or complicated argument, he will find, when he has awhile withdrawn his mind, and returns as a new reader to his work, that he has only ...
— The Works of Samuel Johnson, LL.D, In Nine Volumes - Volume the Third: The Rambler, Vol. II • Samuel Johnson

... purposely phrased his account to convey the impression that Sennacherib's tragic end was but the slightly delayed culmination of the punishment inflicted for his attack upon the "chosen people." On the other hand, the ambiguity may be quite unintentional, for the Hebrew writers were notoriously lacking in the true historical sense, which shows itself in a full appreciation ...
— Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 6, Slice 3 - "Chitral" to "Cincinnati" • Various

... especially in outline, each part or object standing or seeming apart from any other, not confused, indefinite, or blurred; distinct enunciation enables the hearer to catch every word or vocal sound without perplexity or confusion; a distinct statement is free from indefiniteness or ambiguity; a distinct apprehension of a thought leaves the mind in no doubt or uncertainty regarding it. That is plain, in the sense here considered, which is, as it were, level to the thought, so that one goes straight on without difficulty or hindrance; as, plain ...
— English Synonyms and Antonyms - With Notes on the Correct Use of Prepositions • James Champlin Fernald

... for the Wright bill. When the Stetson bill received the favorable recommendation 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 ...
— Story of the Session of the California Legislature of 1909 • Franklin Hichborn

... 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 ...
— The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation • Edward Corwin

... 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, to the ...
— The Works of William Shakespeare [Cambridge Edition] [9 vols.] - Introduction and Publisher's Advertising • William Shakespeare

... remark as the natural corollary of mine, but some sub-conscious sense in me insisted that its very ambiguity ...
— The Lost Valley • J. M. Walsh

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

... edge of 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 brigade beyond the belt of trees, he heard it ...
— The Long Roll • Mary Johnston

... rear to front, as at Zorndorf, but more elaborately;—which I should not mention, were it not that hereby their late "right wing on the Muhlberg" has, in strict speech, become their "left," and there is ambiguity and discrepancy in some of the Books, should any poor reader take to studying them on this matter. Changed their front; which involves much interior changing; readjusting of batteries and the like. That of burning Kunersdorf was the barbaric winding up of all this: barbaric, ...
— History of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Vol. XIX. (of XXI.) • Thomas Carlyle

... throughout this 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 less ...
— Sex in Education - or, A Fair Chance for Girls • Edward H. Clarke

... but repel it, as I do at this moment. No! the 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 ...
— Pius IX. And His Time • The Rev. AEneas MacDonell

... a voice like the wind blowing through pine boughs, "wants a divo'ce." She looked at Ransie to see if he noted any flaw or ambiguity or evasion or partiality or self-partisanship in her statement ...
— Whirligigs • O. Henry

... 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 ...
— Love and Lucy • Maurice Henry Hewlett

... to be a model of ambiguity, by which it is impossible Napoleon could have been imposed upon. However, as yet he had no suspicion of the hostility of Austria, which speedily became manifest; his grand object then was the Spanish business, and, as I have before observed, one of the secrets ...
— Memoirs of Napoleon Bonaparte, Complete • Louis Antoine Fauvelet de Bourrienne

... highest degree, and which have brought it a good and honourable reputation in the whole world. When we make experiments in lies and deceptions, 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 ...
— Mr. Punch's History of the Great War • Punch

... 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 of them. He has a perfect knowledge of French, and I have ...
— Uarda • Georg Ebers

... upon their ill-doing lies in the certainty of their disagreement as to the particular kind of confusion which they may think it expedient to create. Some will wish to accomplish their common object by one kind of verbal ambiguity, some by another; some by laws clearly enough (to them) unconstitutional, others by contradictory statutes, or statutes secretly repealing wholesome ones already existing. A clear, simple and just code would deprive them of their means of livelihood and compel ...
— The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce • Ambrose Bierce

... this character, the brave English sailor was obstructed by no ambiguity as to how he should act. A single bound carried him across the Catamaran,—another landed him upon the top of one of the casks, and a third launched him six feet outward into the sea. Had he been apprised of the accident only a score of seconds sooner, less than that number ...
— The Ocean Waifs - A Story of Adventure on Land and Sea • Mayne Reid

... shadow of white Death, &c. The use of 'his' and 'her' in this stanza is not wholly free from ambiguity. In st. 7 Death was a male impersonation—'kingly Death' who 'keeps his pale court.' It may be assumed that he is the same in the present stanza. Corruption, on the other hand, is a female impersonation: she ...
— Adonais • Shelley

... 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

... neither more nor less, which the Constitution had conferred upon it. I do not know how the provision, or the intention, either of the Constitution in granting the power, or of the States in making the cession, could be expressed in a manner more absolutely free from all doubt or ambiguity. ...
— The Great Speeches and Orations of Daniel Webster • Daniel Webster

... 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 ...
— A Master Of Craft • W. W. Jacobs

... to English laws, and under the protection of England. Its principal center will be London. I cannot tell yet how large the Company's capital should be; I shall leave that calculation to our numerous financiers. But to avoid ambiguity, I shall put it at a thousand million marks (about L50,000,000 or $200,000,000); it may be either more or less than that sum. The form of subscription, which will be further elucidated, will determine what fraction of the whole amount must ...
— The Jewish State • Theodor Herzl

... test of a wager, I do not think I should, in the language of sporting gentlemen, have cared to 'back' my original opinion. There was, however, a sufficient uncertainty to make me uncomfortable; and there was another uncertainty to enhance the unpleasant sense of ambiguity. ...
— Uncle Silas - A Tale of Bartram-Haugh • J.S. Le Fanu

... snout, sharp teeth, eyes that twinkle with humor, and clawed paws which are more skilful than many a fingered hand. By the scientists of the world he is addressed as Nasua nasua nasua—which lays itself open to the twin ambiguity of stuttering Latin, or the echoes of a Princetonian football yell. The natural histories call him coati-mundi, while the Indian has by far the best of it, with the ringing, climactic syllables, ...
— Edge of the Jungle • William Beebe

... the hold of the traditional style of fighting on the minds of naval officers than this blunder, though it is only fair to add that there was some excuse in the ambiguity Of the order. Rodney was infuriated and expressed himself with corresponding bitterness. He always regarded this battle as the one on which his fame should rest because of what it might have been if his subordinates had ...
— A History of Sea Power • William Oliver Stevens and Allan Westcott

... been called into existence in some manner no longer operative. The past eternity of matter, as well as its progressive development from the simple to the complex, seems manifestly out of consideration in view of the facts as we now know them. There is no ambiguity in the evidence. So far as modern science can throw light on the question, there must have been a real Creation of the materials of which our world is composed, a Creation wholly different both in kind and in degree from ...
— Q. E. D., or New Light on the Doctrine of Creation • George McCready Price

... compositions, and characters in plays are sometimes italicized. This is not 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 a character ...
— The Uses of Italic - A Primer of Information Regarding the Origin and Uses of Italic Letters • Frederick W. Hamilton

... 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 credence of my honourable friends, I must with all my energy contest The ...
— The Dynasts - An Epic-Drama Of The War With Napoleon, In Three Parts, - Nineteen Acts, And One Hundred And Thirty Scenes • Thomas Hardy

... ideal clear, a scientific language you demand, without ambiguity, as precise as mathematical formulae, and with every term in relations of exact logical consistency with every other. It will be a language with all the inflexions of verbs and nouns regular and all ...
— A Modern Utopia • H. G. Wells

... be misled by this ambiguity, let us inquire what is meant, when it is said that Emerson was not a great writer. To my apprehension the meaning is simply that his literary execution, taken by and for itself, was not of the highest order. A cotton fabric may be better ...
— Sketches from Concord and Appledore • Frank Preston Stearns

... other disease, is a serious question, and worthy to be considered: for the better understanding of which, I will make a brief digression of the nature of spirits. And although the question be very obscure, according to [1118]Postellus, "full of controversy and ambiguity," beyond the reach of human capacity, fateor excedere vires intentionis meae, saith [1119]Austin, I confess I am not able to understand it, finitum de infinito non potest statuere, we can sooner determine with Tully, de nat. deorum, quid non ...
— The Anatomy of Melancholy • Democritus Junior

... Miss Philpotts nearly had an accident with her crochet hook. The only person who kept cool was Mrs. Riddel, and it was quite clear to the beholders that she had realized neither the ambiguity of her question nor the meaning ...
— Lady of the Barge and Others, Entire Collection • W.W. Jacobs

... similar character may, and probably will, be made by our naval forces, and I earnestly recommend that Congress may amend the second section of the act of March 3, 1819, so as to free its construction from the ambiguity which has so long existed and render the duty of the President plain in executing ...
— A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents - Section 4 (of 4) of Volume 5: James Buchanan • James D. Richardson

... 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 ...
— A History of Art in Chaldaea & Assyria, v. 1 • Georges Perrot

... originally and essentially the intangible right to a thing, the word came to be applied also to the object of the right. This is done both in common speech and in judicial decisions, with inevitable ambiguity. This may be readily seen by trying to substitute the word ownership for property, a thing quite simple in some cases but impossible in others. One would not point to a house and say, "This is my ownership," but either, "This is my property," or "I exercise ...
— Modern Economic Problems - Economics Vol. II • Frank Albert Fetter

... triumphing at the skill which I had displayed in my conference with the prince de Soubise when the duc d'Aiguillon entered. "Good heaven," said he, kissing my hand very tenderly, "into what inquietude did you throw me by your dear and cruel letter. The ambiguity of your style has caused me inexpressible sorrow; and you have added to it by not allowing me to come to you at the first moment." "I could not: I thought it would be dangerous for you to appear before the king previously to having seen me." "Would the king have thought my visit ...
— "Written by Herself" • Baron Etienne Leon Lamothe-Langon

... the phenomenon of ambiguity in the interpretation of the retinal eye processes that this case finds its value. At the dinner table the child complained of the decrease in size of a number of objects in the room, especially was this true of the apparent size of the father's head. The frequency ...
— The Journal of Abnormal Psychology - Volume 10

... and even of society itself. The charters which we call by distinction great are public instruments of this nature: I mean the charters of King John and King Henry the Third. The things secured by these instruments may, without any deceitful ambiguity, be very fitly called the chartered ...
— The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. II. (of 12) • Edmund Burke

... Here the same ambiguity about branding is found. Some take the word rendered "forehead" to mean the hair of the head. His head would then be shaved. "To go out from the house" means "to be cut off from kith and kin." But here the son retains his ...
— Babylonian and Assyrian Laws, Contracts and Letters • C. H. W. Johns

... profit 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 cause ...
— The Unexpurgated Case Against Woman Suffrage • Almroth E. Wright

... 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

... possession of me, and I looked impulsively into his face. Was it possible that for once Enriquez' ironical extravagance had been understood, met, and vanquished by a master hand? But the Rev. Mr. Mannersley's self-satisfied face betrayed no ambiguity or lurking humor. He was evidently in earnest; he had complacently accepted for himself the abandoned Enriquez' serenade to his niece. I felt a hysterical desire to laugh, but it was checked by my ...
— Selected Stories • Bret Harte

... 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

... remarked that the Hazaj is not in use as a hexameter, but only with an 'Aruz majzuah or shortened by one foot. Hence it is only in the second 'Aruz of the Wafir, which is likewise majzuah, that the ambiguity as to the real nature of the metre can arise;[FN457] ...
— The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Volume 10 • Richard F. Burton

... to think that many persons have a very inaccurate notion of the Editorial System. What I call by this name has grown up in the last centenary—a word I may use to signify the hundred years now ending, and to avoid the ambiguity of century. It cannot conveniently be explained by editors themselves, and edited journals generally do not like to say much about it. In your paper perhaps, in which editorial duties differ somewhat from those of ordinary journals, ...
— A Budget of Paradoxes, Volume I (of II) • Augustus De Morgan

... came out, and then another; there were no hard suggestions, no sordid reminders. It was a beautiful world, filled with happy people, united in a common healthy interest; the outlines of separation were softened into ambiguity and the differences veiled by ...
— A Christmas Accident and Other Stories • Annie Eliot Trumbull

... then ask so much?" cried he. And as if the ambiguity which had marked his speech were not enough, he must needs, as he put this question, bend in his eagerness towards her until her brown tresses touched his swart cheek. Was it then strange that the eagerness wherewith he urged another's suit should have been by her interpreted as her heart ...
— The Tavern Knight • Rafael Sabatini

... shall praise the maker of the law for his great wisdom / for his playne writyng without any maner of ambiguity / y^t no strau[n]ger shulde p[re]sume to go vpon the walles / & reherce y^e law word for worde / & tha[n] shew som reasonable cause that mouyd the maker of the law that he wolde vtterly that no straunger shulde as- cende the walles. &c. Exa[m]ple of ...
— The Art or Crafte of Rhetoryke • Leonard Cox

... Hobby-horse and a Maid Marian, as necessary in this recreation. Sir William Temple speaks of a pamphlet in the library of the Earl of Leicester, which gave an account of a set of morrice-dancers in King James's reign, composed of ten men or twelve men, for the ambiguity of his expression renders it impossible to say which of the two numbers is meant, who went about the country: that they danced a Maid Marian, with a tabor and pipe, and that their ages one with another made ...
— Shakespeare and Music - With Illustrations from the Music of the 16th and 17th centuries • Edward W. Naylor

... included in these words; but shall briefly fall upon those things that I judge most necessary for the people of God. Neither shall I need to make any great preamble to the words for their explication; they themselves being plain, and without that ambiguity that calleth for such a thing; the general scope being this, THAT THEY WHICH HAVE BELIEVED IN GOD SHOULD BE ...
— The Works of John Bunyan • John Bunyan

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

... so 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, and found the abbe in his morning gown and slippers, with ...
— The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom, Complete • Tobias Smollett

... self-contained, hard-set, and immutable was his expression that it was impossible to read anything from it except sternness and resolution, qualities which are as likely to be associated with the highest natures as with the most dangerous. It may have been on account of this ambiguity of expression that the world's estimate of the old merchant was a very varying one. He was known to be a fanatic in religion, a purist in morals, and a man of the strictest commercial integrity. Yet there were some few who ...
— The Firm of Girdlestone • Arthur Conan Doyle

... one language into another is to use identical words for identical expressions in the original. In translating, however, from a language like Sanskrit which abounds in synonyms, this is not always practicable without ambiguity. As an example, the word used in 13 is Dhira; that used in 11 is Pandita. There can be little doubt, however, that Pandita and Dhira have exactly ...
— The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 2 • Kisari Mohan Ganguli

... a phrase used in the time of Charles II. to express those dashing ministers who obtained power by undertaking to carry through particular favourite measures of the crown. But the Dean applies it with his usual studied ambiguity, so that it may be explained as meaning schemers ...
— The Prose Works of Jonathan Swift, Vol. VI; The Drapier's Letters • Jonathan Swift

... emotions which no one may know until he senses the great weight of responsibility 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 on which the founders wrought. ...
— U.S. Presidential Inaugural Addresses • Various

... Words is the Doubtfulness or ambiguity of their Signification, which is caused by the sort ...
— An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding, Volume II. - MDCXC, Based on the 2nd Edition, Books III. and IV. (of 4) • John Locke

... Light of 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 ...
— Leviathan • Thomas Hobbes

... mate would give me little ease Whose views were strictly orthodox on MYRON and PRAXITELES. You do not understand," she sneered, "so gross is your fatuity; Well then, I answer 'No,' without a trace of ambiguity." ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 158, January 21st, 1920 • Various

... who"? [which Bacon] because in order to make the revelation complete we must be told that it is "Francis" Bacon, so as to leave no ambiguity or possibility of mistake. How then is it possible that we can be told that it is Francis Bacon? We read in answer to ...
— Bacon is Shake-Speare • Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence

... 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 ...
— The Pool in the Desert • Sara Jeannette Duncan

... whose mode of 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 universally used by us, to express a thief, though ...
— A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Vol. 15 (of 18) • Robert Kerr

... history of his political life is a ludicrous illustration of the perplexities of politicians. His invariable course as a diplomatist has been to leave the way open to prevarication, to keep his opinions in a cloud, and to confound sense with ambiguity. It would be pure credulity to place much confidence in the expressions of a statesman who within two months boldly censured and then as boldly favored the designs of Victor Emmanuel on Venice, officially and unblushingly before all Europe. Both these noble lords, however, are ...
— Atlantic Monthly,Volume 14, No. 82, August, 1864 - A Magazine Of Literature, Art, And Politics • Various

... consideration, we have fixed in the subjoined schedule the prices of the various articles of produce, which prices are to remain free from all ambiguity. ...
— The Letters of Cassiodorus - Being A Condensed Translation Of The Variae Epistolae Of - Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus Senator • Cassiodorus (AKA Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus Senator)

... the miraculous draught of fishes, the draught of a ship, the draft of a picture, or a draught of medicine, or the present draft of this essay, though it may ultimately appear medicinal, are, some of them, quite as distinct objects or notions as, for instance, vane and vein are: but the ambiguity of draft, however spelt, is due to its being the name of anything that is drawn; and since there are many ways of drawing things, and different things are drawn in different ways, the same word has come ...
— Society for Pure English, Tract 2, on English Homophones • Robert Bridges

... assertions concerning my views, and just the same number of utter misrepresentations of them. That which I have numbered (1) turns on the ambiguity of the word "same," for a discussion of which I would refer Dr. Stirling to a great hero of "Aufklaerung" Archbishop Whately; statement number (2) is, in my judgment, absurd, and certainly I have never said anything resembling it; while, as to number (3), one great object ...
— Discourses - Biological and Geological Essays • Thomas H. Huxley

... clause cause some obscurity: First, The uncertainty of the subject. Second, The ambiguity of one phrase. ...
— The Covenants And The Covenanters - Covenants, Sermons, and Documents of the Covenanted Reformation • Various

... discovered, containing a letter, in which the Superior of the company residing at Santa Fe informed the missionaries of the Orinoco of the persecutions to which the Jesuits were exposed in New Grenada. This letter recommended no measure of precaution; it was short, without ambiguity, and respectful towards the government, whose orders were executed ...
— Equinoctial Regions of America V2 • Alexander von Humboldt

... ambiguity in the compliment; but Lord Curryfin took it as implying that his aspect in all its variety was agreeable to the young lady. He did not then dream of a rival in the Hermit ...
— Gryll Grange • Thomas Love Peacock

... can the first footsteps of chronology be sought; not in Africa, because, first, the records of Egypt, so far as any have survived, are intensely Asiatic; liable to the same charge of hieroglyphic ambiguity combined with the exaggerations of outrageous nationality; because, secondly, the separate records of the adjacent State of Cyrene have perished; because, thirdly, the separate records of the next State, Carthage, ...
— The Posthumous Works of Thomas De Quincey, Vol. II (2 vols) • Thomas De Quincey

... North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, shall not be prohibited," etc. This, he said, would be most fair, and would avoid the ambiguity by which, under the power with regard to naturalization, the liberty reserved to the States might be defeated. He wished it to be known, also, that this part of the Constitution was a compliance with those ...
— Abraham Lincoln • George Haven Putnam

... 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 ...
— The Works of Edgar Allan Poe - Volume 1 (of 5) of the Raven Edition • Edgar Allan Poe

... interview, on the morrow by the 'fruitless tree,' he sealed for delivery into Cornelia's hands some hours before the time appointed. He then wrote a clear business letter to his lawyer, and one of studied ambiguity to a cousin on his mother's side. His father's brother, Percival Barrett, to whom the estates had gone, had offered him an annuity of five hundred pounds: "though he had, as his nephew was aware, a large family." Sir Purcell had replied: "Let me be the first to ...
— The Shaving of Shagpat • George Meredith

... title of another sort, a mark of rank and pre-eminence: on this account it was assumed by other people, and conferred upon other places. For this reason it is never mentioned by any of the sacred writers before the captivity, in order to avoid ambiguity. The Gentile writers made use of it; and we see what mistakes have ensued. There were Phoenicians of various countries. They were to be found upon the Sinus [18]Persicus, upon the Sinus [19]Arabicus, in Egypt, in [20]Crete, ...
— A New System; or, an Analysis of Antient Mythology. Volume II. (of VI.) • Jacob Bryant

... without laying down the lines of a definite, constructive ecclesiastical policy, and that it was absurd to launch such a question in the last session of an expiring Parliament. The more ardent spirits of the Tory party strongly censured the ambiguity of this defence, and the Government were beaten by majorities of 56 and 60. The House of Commons was dissolved in the autumn and a large Liberal majority returned. Disraeli at once resigned without waiting for the ...
— Historical and Political Essays • William Edward Hartpole Lecky

... principal as you mention; and the most graceful excuse for the acceptance, would be, that it left you free to your voluntary functions. That is the less light part of the scruple. It has no darker shade. I put in darker, because of the ambiguity of the word light, which Donne in his admirable poem on the Metempsychosis, has so ...
— The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb (Vol. 6) - Letters 1821-1842 • Charles and Mary Lamb

... His ambiguity was beginning to exasperate me, and I felt myself shut out from some knowledge to which I had as good ...
— Crucial Instances • Edith Wharton

... to distinguish between the nominative and objective cases of the pronouns, but try to avoid ambiguity ...
— How to Speak and Write Correctly • Joseph Devlin

... are the words 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

... 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 still responded to the charnel feeling of ...
— The Abandoned Room • Wadsworth Camp

... that ambiguity is avoided by a change of conjunctions, et connecting the clauses and -que connecting praemia and poenas. Of these connectives, et connects two ideas that are independent of each other and of equal importance; -que denotes a close connection, ...
— Ritchie's Fabulae Faciles - A First Latin Reader • John Kirtland, ed.

... experience which, to avoid ambiguity, should, I think, be called the state of assurance rather than the faith-state, can be easily enumerated, though it is probably difficult to realize their intensity, unless one has been through the ...
— The Varieties of Religious Experience • William James

... obedient servants, call to our remembrance the great divisions which in times past hath been in this realm by reason of several titles pretended to the imperial crown of the same; which some time and for the most part ensued by occasion of ambiguity, and [by] doubts then not so perfectly declared but that men might upon froward intents expound them to every man's sinister appetite and affection after their senses; whereof hath ensued great destruction ...
— History of England from the Fall of Wolsey to the Death of Elizabeth. Vol. II. • James Anthony Froude

... the words. If she corrects it with moroseness, she defeats the effect of her remedy by her unskilful manner of administering it. If, on the other hand, she affects to defend the insulted cause of God in a faint tone of voice, and studied ambiguity of phrase, or with an air of levity, and a certain expression of pleasure in her eyes, which proves she is secretly delighted with what she pretends to censure, she injures religion much more than he did who publicly profaned ...
— Golden Steps to Respectability, Usefulness and Happiness • John Mather Austin

... a 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 ...
— Hours in a Library - New Edition, with Additions. Vol. II (of 3) • Leslie Stephen

... fact "the 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 ...
— Beyond Good and Evil • Friedrich Nietzsche

... all is given beforehand, 'why do over again what has already been completed, thus reducing life and endeavour to a mere sham.' But even allowing the force of that objection, the idea of a 'world in the making,' though it appeals to the popular mind, is not quite free from ambiguity. In one sense it states a platitude—a truth, indeed, which is not excluded from an absolute or teleological conception of life. But if it is implied that the world, because it is in process of production, may violate reason and take some capricious form, the ...
— Christianity and Ethics - A Handbook of Christian Ethics • Archibald B. C. Alexander

... 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 "professional" has come to have almost an implication ...
— The Making of Arguments • J. H. Gardiner

... it a principle to engross the attention of the prettiest woman in the room, was now, after his manner, paying his adorations to his fair partner. Promising himself that he should be able to recede or advance as he thought proper, he used a certain happy ambiguity of phrase, which, according to the manner in which it is understood, or rather according to the tone and look with which it is accompanied, says every thing—or nothing. With prudent caution, he began with darts, flames, wounds, and anguish; words which every military man holds himself privileged ...
— Tales and Novels, Vol. VII - Patronage • Maria Edgeworth

... 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 different 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 Best of the World's Classics, Restricted to Prose, Vol. VI (of X)—Great Britain and Ireland IV • Various

... 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 and interests means by the rights, ...
— The Promise Of American Life • Herbert David Croly

... I was sitting at some 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, more ...
— The Purcell Papers - Volume II. (of III.) • Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

... benevolence and curiosity in her staunch visits to the recluse of Charlock House, and could feel herself as Lady Channice's one wholesome link with the world that she had rejected or—here lay all the ambiguity, all the mystery that, for years, had whetted Mrs. Grey's curiosity to ...
— Amabel Channice • Anne Douglas Sedgwick

... 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 to the action ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Volume 10, Number 59, September, 1862 • Various

... here what was meant: it was "the people of the States," designated by name, that were to "ordain, declare, and establish" the compact of union for themselves and their posterity. There is no ambiguity nor uncertainty in the language; nor was there any difference in the Convention as to the use of it. The preamble, as perfected, was submitted to vote on the next day, and, as the journal informs us, "it passed ...
— The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government • Jefferson Davis

... Darwin's view, if not the least teleological, is certainly nearly so, and his confession of inability to detect any general cause underlying variations, leaves, as will appear presently, less than common room for ambiguity. Here are Mr. ...
— Evolution, Old & New - Or, the Theories of Buffon, Dr. Erasmus Darwin and Lamarck, - as compared with that of Charles Darwin • Samuel Butler

... the word "I" as given by Des Cartes. Mill, in his "System of Logic," says, "The ambiguity in this case is in the pronoun I, by which in one place is to be understood my will: in another the laws of my nature. If the conception, existing as it does in my mind, had no original without, the conclusion would unquestionably follow that '1' had made it—that is, that ...
— Ancient and Modern Celebrated Freethinkers - Reprinted From an English Work, Entitled "Half-Hours With - The Freethinkers." • Charles Bradlaugh, A. Collins, and J. Watts

... It was considered the centre of the earth, and was revered by the Pan-Hellenic race. It was a supreme religious court, whose decisions were believed to be infallible. The despotism of the Pythian decisions was, however, tempered by their ambiguity. Their predictions, if they failed, seldom destroyed the faith of the believers; for always some explanation could be devised to save the credit of the oracle. Thus, the Pythian promised the Athenians that they would take all the Syracusans prisoners. ...
— Ten Great Religions - An Essay in Comparative Theology • James Freeman Clarke

... 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 ...
— The Antiquity of Man • Charles Lyell

... himself, he 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 other house none the less nourished projects ...
— A Small Boy and Others • Henry James

... money on their bills or notes payable on demand. In the year 1821 the act was so far modified as to permit the establishment of banking companies exceeding six in number at a distance of 50 m. from Dublin. In 1824, in consequence of the ambiguity of that act, an act had to be passed to explain it. It was not till 1845 that the restriction as to the ...
— Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Part 1, Slice 3 - "Banks" to "Bassoon" • Various

... dance should be a kind of regular dramatic poem to be executed by dancing, in a manner so clear, as to give to the understanding of the spectator no trouble in making out the meaning of the whole, or of any part of it. All ambiguity being as great a fault of stile in such compositions, as in writing. It is even harder to be repaired; for a false expression in the motions, gestures, or looks, may confuse and bewilder the spectator so as that he will not easily recover the ...
— A Treatise on the Art of Dancing • Giovanni-Andrea Gallini

... He had never thought or taught, said he, that good works are a cause of justification. And concerning the proposition, "Good works are necessary to salvation," he had expressly declared that he intended to abstain from its use "because it had offended some on account of its ambiguity, cum propter ambiguitatem offenderit aliquos." He continued: "The facts show that we [the professors of Wittenberg University] are and have remained guardians of that doctrine which Luther and Melanchthon ... ...
— Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church • Friedrich Bente

... safer in sharing his guilt with others. The town-council of Mutina, too, kept adding to their anxiety by offering them arms and money, styling them with ill-timed respect 'Conscript Fathers'. A 53 remarkable quarrel arose at this meeting. Licinius Caecina attacked Eprius Marcellus[331] for the ambiguity of his language. Not that the others disclosed their sentiments, but Caecina, who was still a nobody, recently raised to the senate, sought to distinguish himself by quarrelling with some one of importance, and selected Marcellus, because ...
— Tacitus: The Histories, Volumes I and II • Caius Cornelius Tacitus

... in which Christopher Columbus was born remains unidentified, and the year of his birth undecided, no such ambiguity attaches to the place and year of Vespucci's nativity. Above the doorway of the mansion which "for centuries before the discovery of America was the dwelling-place of the ancestors of Amerigo Vespucci, ...
— Amerigo Vespucci • Frederick A. Ober

... "You concealed," said he, "the secret from us, but Brutus has told me all." At which words when Casca was surprised, the other said laughing, "How come you to be so rich of a sudden, that you should stand to be chosen aedile?" So near was Casca to let out the secret, upon the mere ambiguity of the other's expression. Then Popilius Laenas, a senator, having saluted Brutus and Cassius more earnestly than usual, whispered them softly in the ear and said, "My wishes are with you, that you may accomplish what you design, and I advise you to make no delay, for the ...
— Plutarch's Lives • A.H. Clough

... Conceding 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 ...
— Poet Lore, Volume XXIV, Number IV, 1912 • Various

... a verbal ambiguity here if we look at it closely, and yet there is a corresponding uncertainty in the conception of Literature and Art commonly entertained, which leads many writers and many critics into the belief that what are called "effects" should be sought, and when ...
— The Principles of Success in Literature • George Henry Lewes

... 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 ...
— Bubbles of the Foam • Unknown

... whenever these systems are brought into question, man either reasons in a very strange manner, or else is the dupe of very deceitful arguments: when they are agitated, and he finds it impossible to understand what is said concerning them when his mind cannot embrace the ambiguity of these doctrines, he imagines those who speak to him are better acquainted with the objects of their discourse than himself; these seizing the favourable opportunity, do not let it slip, they reiterate ...
— The System of Nature, Vol. 2 • Baron D'Holbach

... music. This significance is contained most definitely in the music itself. It is not music that is ambiguous; it says the same thing to everybody; it speaks to mankind and gives voice only to human feelings. Ambiguity only then makes its appearance when each person attempts to formulate in his manner the emotional impression which he has received, when he attempts to fix and hold the ethereal essence of ...
— How to Listen to Music, 7th ed. - Hints and Suggestions to Untaught Lovers of the Art • Henry Edward Krehbiel

... knowledge of Shakespeare's company affiliations during these years is equally nebulous. Only by throwing light upon Burbage's activities during these years can we hope for light upon Shakespeare during the same period. Much of the ambiguity regarding Burbage's affairs during these years arises from the fact that critics persist in regarding him as an actor and an active member of a regular theatrical company after 1576, instead of recognising the palpable fact that he was now also a theatrical manager with a large amount of borrowed ...
— Shakespeare's Lost Years in London, 1586-1592 • Arthur Acheson

... argument, furthermore, he not only exaggerates the cleavage between capitalists and laborers, the class consciousness of the two groups and the rationality of capitalistic purpose, but he falls into calamitous ambiguity and confusion. The central phenomenon of slavery, says he, is speculation or the overvaluation of the slave. He thereupon assumes that speculation always means overvaluation, ignoring its downward possibility, and he accounts for the asserted universal and continuously ...
— American Negro Slavery - A Survey of the Supply, Employment and Control of Negro Labor as Determined by the Plantation Regime • Ulrich Bonnell Phillips

... fear of those who spoke to your mother, Mildred, than of those who spoke only to you. As I hate ambiguity, however, I will say, at once, that my ...
— The Two Admirals • J. Fenimore Cooper

... no 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 ...
— The Far Horizon • Lucas Malet

... hesitate to remove all ambiguity from the utterance of the militant suffragette with the ...
— Making People Happy • Thompson Buchanan

... illustrate the use of the reaction-time method in investigating such complex processes as attention, temperament, etc. The department which includes the various time measurements in psychology is now called Mental Chronometry, the older term, Psychometry, being less used on account of its ambiguity. ...
— The Story of the Mind • James Mark Baldwin

... poem was published anonymously. The preface, a defence of the Dunces, is, with probably intentional ambiguity, written in the first person singular but ends by referring to "the Writers of the following Poem" (p. viii). One hand seems responsible for the preface, but we can only conclude that a Dunce collaborating ...
— Two Poems Against Pope - One Epistle to Mr. A. Pope and the Blatant Beast • Leonard Welsted

... a failing with the Providence young—with Providence people," ventured Miss Wingate with ambiguity. ...
— The Road to Providence • Maria Thompson Daviess

... subjects interesting and intelligible to vast 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 marred by the thought ...
— German Problems and Personalities • Charles Sarolea

... wish to have substituted for some of yours. If you think them inadequate to the state of the case, as I own they are, preserve this letter and let some future Sir John Dalrymple produce it to load my memory; but I own I do not desire that any ambiguity should aid his invention to forge an account) for me. If you would have no objection, I would propose your narrative should run thus, [Here follows a note, which is inserted verbatim in Mason's Life of Gray.(90)] ...
— Letters of Horace Walpole, V4 • Horace Walpole



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



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