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Can the word tenebrous be used to mean ambiguous?

Your statement is ambiguous.

Your statement is tenebrous.

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You could. But I wouldn't. If you are arguing ambiguity, tenebrous is certainly not the word to use. –  Ste Aug 3 '12 at 13:51
    
You can but it wouldn't make sense without a lot of context. your use of 'tenebrous' could only be metaphorical, and it would imply 'difficult to understand' which is not the same as 'ambiguous'. Are you trying for 'unclear'? 'vague'? 'underspecified'? –  Mitch Aug 3 '12 at 13:52
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What dictionaries led you to think this? –  tchrist Aug 3 '12 at 14:42
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If you want a metaphorical synonym for ambiguous, you should use cloudy. People won't understand what you mean if you use tenebrous. –  Peter Shor Aug 3 '12 at 16:50
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closed as general reference by tchrist, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者, JSBձոգչ, Mark Beadles, Robusto Aug 9 '12 at 19:17

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

"Tenebrous" mostly means obscurity or darkness. Thus it implies lack of clarity of expression.

On the other hand, "ambiguous" usually indicates the presence of two or more meanings.

To answer your question, yes, "tenebrous" can be used instead, but it wouldn't be very accurate.

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I wouldn't use it. If something is ambiguous, I wont say it's shadowy, unless we are talking of Orcus:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orcus_(Dungeons_%26_Dragons) –  Noah Aug 3 '12 at 16:29
    
I think you mean "obscure or dark," not "obscurity or darkness." Tenebrous is an adjective, after all. –  Robusto Aug 9 '12 at 19:16
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MW offers as one of the definitions of tenebrous:

hard to understand: obscure

I find the metaphorical reference to darkness appealing.

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