ag-, agen-, act-, agi-, agit-
(Latin: to set in motion, to hurry, to shake; to drive; to do, to act; to lead, to conduct, to guide)
2. A reference to someone who discusses excitedly and earnestly: When Mr. Hathaway became extremely agitational when he talked to his wife about his sudden financial loses on the stock market.
3. Pertaining to anything that provokes, or stirs up, public discussion of a condition or situation: The agitational protests in front of the city hall were getting out of hand and causing much confusion among the people watching.
2. An apparatus for shaking or stirring: The washing machines in Germany do not have an agitator like in Canada.
2. A reference to anything, or anyone, that strives or tends to excite or endeavors to excite: The articles that Mr. Smith wrote for the newspaper were quite agitatorial, and did not relate much factual information. .
2. Etymology: from Latin agito, "to hurry" + Greek phasis, "speech".
2. An expression or statement that has more than one meaning: There were ambiguities in the diagnosis by the physician regarding Nick's mental condition.
3. That which causes uncertainty or confusion: Because of the nature of the ambiguities of the answers provided by the politician, people were becoming less confident in his qualifications.
2. Relating to something of a doubtful or uncertain nature; regarding an aspect difficult to comprehend, to distinguish, or to classify: It was clear from Jim's note to his parents that he had left the country, but as to where his destination would be, he was ambiguous.
3. Pertaining to a situation which lacks clearness or definiteness; obscure; indistinct: Ambiguous can refer to a person or the contents in a piece of writing.
4. Etymology: from Latin ambiguus, "having double meanings, shifting, changeable, doubtful"; derived from ambigere, "to dispute about"; literally, "to wander"; from ambi-, "about" + agere, "to drive, to lead, to act".
"Ambivalent" refers to people and their attitudes while ambiguous refers to something said or written.
Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
for a list of additional Mickey Bach illustrations.
Latin amb-, "about, around," combined with agere, "to drive", formed ambigere, literally, "to drive around, to waver". Out of this word grew the Latin ambiguus, "hesitating, uncertain". English borrowed it as ambiguous, with the meaning "equivocal, capable of being understood in either of two or more possible senses, vague."
2. Etymology: a descriptive term derived from ambigere, "to dispute about"; literally, "to wander" from ambi-, "about" + agere, "to drive, to lead, to act".
2. The vagueness of something which makes people hesitant to accept what has been presented by someone: The ambiguousness of the mayor’s plans for the new city hall created a lot of confusion in the minds of the citizens.
When the speaker used the ambiguousness of "1 + 2 = 3", Mark didn't know if the man meant "one man plus two women", or "one woman plus two men", or "a father, a mother, plus a child", as shown in the illustration below.