Browse Definitions :
Definition

lexical ambiguity

Lexical ambiguity is the potential for multiple interpretations of spoken or written language that renders it difficult or impossible to understand without some additional information. The ambiguity typically results from the fact that words can mean different things; the additional information typically supplies context that clarifies which meaning is intended in this instance. Lexical means related to words, from the Greek lexikos.

Lexical ambiguity is what makes puns and other types of wordplay funny, and unintentional humor can occur when words aren’t considered carefully enough. For example, the Columbia Journalism Review once published a collection of ambiguous headlines, such as “Red Tape Holds up New Bridge.” The ambiguity there results from the fact that holds up can mean both delays and supports, and the humor comes from the fact that the idea of holding a bridge in place with red tape is ridiculous. Headlines rendered difficult to parse because of ambiguity are sometimes known as crash blossoms, so-named for one that appeared in Japan Today: “Violinist Linked to JAL Crash Blossoms.”

Lexical ambiguity is often contrasted with structural or syntactic ambiguity, which complicates the interpretation of written or spoken language because of the way in which words or phrases are arranged. Linguistic ambiguity, which includes both of these as well as other categories, is a particular problem for natural language processing (NLP) programs. Word sense disambiguation (WSD) is an essential component of speech recognition, text analytics and other language-processing applications.

This was last updated in January 2019

Continue Reading About lexical ambiguity

SearchNetworking
  • network packet

    A network packet is a basic unit of data that's grouped together and transferred over a computer network, typically a ...

  • virtual network functions (VNFs)

    Virtual network functions (VNFs) are virtualized tasks formerly carried out by proprietary, dedicated hardware.

  • network functions virtualization (NFV)

    Network functions virtualization (NFV) is a network architecture model designed to virtualize network services that have ...

SearchSecurity
  • data breach

    A data breach is a cyber attack in which sensitive, confidential or otherwise protected data has been accessed or disclosed in an...

  • insider threat

    An insider threat is a category of risk posed by those who have access to an organization's physical or digital assets.

  • data compliance

    Data compliance is a process that identifies the applicable governance for data protection, security, storage and other ...

SearchCIO
  • data privacy (information privacy)

    Data privacy, also called information privacy, is an aspect of data protection that addresses the proper storage, access, ...

  • leadership skills

    Leadership skills are the strengths and abilities individuals demonstrate that help to oversee processes, guide initiatives and ...

  • data governance policy

    A data governance policy is a documented set of guidelines for ensuring that an organization's data and information assets are ...

SearchHRSoftware
SearchCustomerExperience
  • recommerce

    Recommerce is the selling of previously owned items through online marketplaces to buyers who reuse, recycle or resell them.

  • implementation

    Implementation is the execution or practice of a plan, a method or any design, idea, model, specification, standard or policy for...

  • first call resolution (FCR)

    First call resolution (FCR) is when customer service agents properly address a customer's needs the first time they call.

Close