Our word for the week is ambiguous//amˈbɪɡjʊəs//. It is pronounced am+bi+gu+ous.

 You remember ambi from the word ambidextrous right? So I guess you have half the meaning of this word. Ambiguous is an adjective. It means doubtful or of uncertain nature. It also means having more than one possible meaning.

It is derived from the Latin words ‘ambi‘ which means both and ‘agere‘ which means to drive and ous which means ‘possessing the quality ‘So we have ‘possessing the quality of both driving’.  So imagine two drivers driving one car. It’s going to be one wobbly ride. They would never reach their destination. That is what ‘ambiguous‘ means. When you make a statement that can mean more than one thing we say it is ambiguous. In that, it might mean different things to different people and in the end it will cause confusion. Over time, ‘Ambigere‘ came to mean wander about, waver, to be in doubt.

An example of an ambiguous sentence is: The Chicken is ready to eat. Does it mean chicken has been prepared or that the animal Chicken is ready to have its meal? It’s unclear. So it’s ambiguous!

So next time someone tells you something that can have 2 different meanings tell the person. “What you are saying is very ambiguous. Could you clarify what you mean?

Enjoy your week. Let me know how you used ambiguous! I will be waiting in the comments!

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Article by Kofi Konadu Berko.Kofi Konadu Berko is passionate about education and youth development. He holds a B.A in Adult Education and Human Resource Studies from the University Of Ghana. His works have been  published in the historic Afroyoung Adult anthology titled Waterbirds On the Lakeshore, Adabraka: Stories From the Center Of the World, Tampered Press and the Kalahari Review. He blogs at obolokofi.wordpress.com