Try Our Apps


Word of the Day
Saturday, October 01, 2016

Definitions for amphiboly

  1. ambiguity of speech, especially from uncertainty of the grammatical construction rather than of the meaning of the words, as in The Duke yet lives that Henry shall depose.

Learn something
new every day


Thank youfor signing up
Get the Word of the Day Email
Citations for amphiboly
Maybe it was better to evade the issue, to delay, to be ambiguous and equivocal, indulge in vagueness, anacoluthon, and amphiboly? Mallock, The Cemetery of Swallows, translated by Steven Rendall, 2013
Mr. Farrell noted a current commercial ... in which the candidate said, “I’m Don Cazayoux and I approved this message because that’s who I'm fighting for.” That, Mr. Farrell said, is “an amphiboly, a logical confusion created by a grammatical ambiguity.” Steve Friess, "Candidates 'Approve' Ads and Get a Bit Creative," New York Times, September 30, 2008
Origin of amphiboly
Amphiboly comes from the Latin noun amphibolia meaning "ambiguity," which, in turn, comes from the Greek amphibolía, a derivative of verb amphibállein meaning "to throw around, embrace, be doubtful." It entered English in the late 1500s.