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- Ambiguity of “quite” 9 answers
"Quite" is probably the most ambiguous word in the English language. Merriam-Webster defines it three ways:
1: completely, wholly, totally (quite mistaken)
2: to an extreme : positively (quite drunk)
3: to a considerable extent : pretty, rather (quite near, quite ill quite rich)
So if someone tells you someone else is "quite drunk", how do you know this person is: a) completely drunk? b) very drunk? c) pretty drunk?
Or how about "quite difficult?" Does it mean rather difficult? Or extremely difficult?