Update
The Oxford Biblical Studies Online and Oxford Islamic Studies Online have retired. Content you previously purchased on Oxford Biblical Studies Online or Oxford Islamic Studies Online has now moved to Oxford Reference, Oxford Handbooks Online, Oxford Scholarship Online, or What Everyone Needs to Know®. For information on how to continue to view articles visit the subscriber services page.
Dismiss

Related Content

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Archaeology
  • Art & Architecture
  • Classical studies
  • History
  • Linguistics
  • Literature
  • Media studies
  • Music
  • Performing arts
  • Philosophy
  • Religion
  • Society and culture

GO

Show Summary Details

Overview

ambiguity


Quick Reference

Having more than one meaning. The simplest case is lexical ambiguity, where a single term has two meanings. A sentence or grammatically complex construction can be ambiguous without any of the words in it being so, because of structural ambiguity: ‘All the nice girls love a sailor’ can bear at least three meanings for this reason (there is one particular sailor loved by all; to each nice girl her own sailor whom she loves; to each nice girl any sailor is lovable). See also amphiboly, systematic ambiguity, type-token ambiguity, act-object ambiguity.


Reference entries

View all reference entries »