unambiguous


completely clear and understandable

STATISTICS

IN THE PRESS

There is a genuine fear in contemporary society of saying what one means in a straightforward and UNAMBIGUOUS way in case this offends somebody.

- BBC News

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Let me be UNAMBIGUOUS. I prefer not to be photographed.

- Thomas Pynchon, American author known for avoiding publicity

Did you
know?

unambiguous
adjective

- expressed in a way which makes it completely clear what is meant

(Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)

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WORD ORIGIN

Unambiguous is formed from "un" (not) and "ambiguous" (unclear). Ambiguous stems from the Latin ambiguus (to have a double meaning, to be in doubt or always changing), which in turn derives from the verb ambigere, meaning to drive to both sides or to be unsure (amb = around, to both sides + agere = to drive, to act).

To be unambiguous is to be perfectly clear about something. And let's be perfectly clear, the phrase "let me be perfectly clear" is a popular way to emphasise that one has no doubt about an opinion that is about to be expressed. Former U.S. President Richard Nixon prefaced so many of his statements with this phrase that Americans began using it in a mocking tone in reference to Nixon's rather "ambiguous" dealings in the White House.

A similar, yet more colourful phrase is "I'm not going to beat about the bush." To beat about the bush means to approach something with caution or in a roundabout way. This expression is a reference to hunting birds at night when they are resting or sleeping. The bushes are beaten with a stick or other object in order to disturb the birds and make them fly out. This makes it easier to stun them or capture them with nets.

So if you want to be unambiguous, don't beat about the bush.

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SYNONYMS

clear-cut, coherent, comprehensible, conspicuous, crystal clear, definite, distinct, evident, explicit, express, incontrovertible, manifest, obvious, palpable, patent, perceptible, perspicuous, plain, precise, pronounced, spelled out, straightforward, unequivocal, unmistakable, unquestionable

(Roget's New Millennium™)

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ANTONYMS

cryptic, doubtful, dubious, enigmatic, equivocal, inconclusive, indefinite, indeterminate, inexplicit, obscure, opaque, puzzling, questionable, tenebrous, uncertain, unclear, unintelligible, vague

(Roget's New Millennium™)

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SMUGGLE OWAD INTO TODAY'S CONVERSATION:

"Let’s me be unambiguous , if we don’t reduce our price: we’ll lose the account."

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