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Within the world of terms like double entendre, multiple entendre, and polysemy is there a way of more specifically expressing the situation where

there is a remark that can be understood to say A, or to be saying B, and it can be interpreted as saying both things.

"Simultaneous", "joint" or "conjunct" entendre come to mind but I have never heard such phrases in real use.

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In the LitCrit biz we call this ambiguity -- sometimes ambivalence if the ambiguity is clearly marked as deliberately intended to communicate both readings simultaneously. – StoneyB Sep 17 '13 at 15:53
That is consistent with the use of bivalence for exclusive-or, A or B but not both. Can ambiguity (unmodified, not strategic ambiguity or other variants) be used for something more specific than the existence of multiple interpretations? – zyx Sep 17 '13 at 16:04
'Doublespeak is language that deliberately disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words.' (Wikipedia) This is when ambiguities are intended, but intended to create a wrong impression. Wrt your comment, look up the clearly-written article at Wikipedia. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 17 '13 at 16:05
The edit was rolled back as the question is about: remarks that can be read as saying A, or can be read as saying B, or can be read as saying "A and B". This is different from being readable as "A, or B", the disjunction. – zyx Sep 17 '13 at 16:10
I'm getting strong echoes of Tolkien here - "What a lot of things you do use 'Good morning!' for." – Edwin Ashworth Sep 17 '13 at 16:11


This is a great term for implying multiple things, and letting context, inflection, social dynamics, etc. drive which formula of those multiple meanings the listener wishes to allow.

If the speakers are prepared for certain constructions, e.g. 'they are initiated', then the expressions can be called

speaking in code

A technical word for this, when no context or intention exists to become sure the meaning:


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Is there a word for the situation where veiling or indirection is not necessarily present? – zyx Sep 17 '13 at 16:11
@zyx sure, see my mod – New Alexandria Sep 17 '13 at 16:21

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