amphibolic

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Related to amphibology: amphiboly

amphibolic

[¦am·fə¦bäl·ik]
(medicine)
Uncertain; wavering; refers to the stage of a disease when prognosis is uncertain.
(zoology)
Possessing the ability to turn either backward or forward, as the outer toe of certain birds.
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References in periodicals archive ?
The significant political tenet, `reason should govern the state', is here articulated in reverse, in the form of a play on the amphibology of the word [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] -- a current colloquial term which had meanwhile invaded the science of geometry, to be raised there to the status of an eminent and cold `technical term'.
Take amphibology, one of Barthes' favorites: The word "intelligence" can designate either the faculty of intellection or "complicity," or both:
Kemble's introduction to the Codex Diplomaticus also subserves the purpose of nationalism by simplifying and, indeed, ignoring the diversity of British ethnic traditions and so locating English national identity in a single reified "mind": Too many of our most polished scholars have condescended to make themselves the echoes of degenerate Greeks and enervated Romans, and to forget the amphibology that lurks in the word barbarous; while want of power to comprehend the peculiarities of the Saxon mind--without which no one will comprehend the peculiarities of the Saxon institutions--has led others to describe the ancestors of the English nation as savages half reclaimed, without laws, morals, or religion....
"Letters" (27-38) is the "literary chapter" in which Giusti examines works by Baldassare Castiglione, Pietro Aretino, and Matteo Bandello to demonstrate how these writers "mirrored and supported the amphibology of the term courtesan, and the need for its framing" (14).
"The Cask of Amontillado" becomes a maniac of the second degree: rejects denotation, spontaneity, platitude, innocent repetition, tolerates only languages which testify, however frivolously, to a power of dislocation: parody, amphibology, surreptitious quotation.