English Language
Lexical Ambiguity

Lexical Ambiguity

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Understanding Lexical Ambiguity

To fully comprehend the concept of lexical ambiguity, it is important to first define the term 'lexical'. Simply put, 'lexical' is the adjective form of 'lexis', which means 'words'. Therefore, lexical ambiguity refers to the uncertainty in meaning caused by multiple possible interpretations of a word.

For example, think about someone saying, "Give me the bat!" Without any context, it is unclear whether they are referring to a baseball bat, a cricket bat, or a winged, nocturnal mammal. This lack of clarity in meaning highlights the significance of lexical ambiguity.

Examples of Lexical Ambiguity

Ambiguity in meaning can arise from different parts of speech, such as nouns, verbs, adjectives, or a combination of these. Here are a few examples of lexical ambiguity:

  • Noun-noun: Metal can mean 'a substance' or 'a genre of music'.
  • Similarly, fan can refer to 'a machine' or 'an admirer'.


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