What is the word for...

What is the word for a phrase that can have many different meanings? Like this phrase that I recently read in The Analects**.

The Master said, "The higher type of man is not a machine."

I figured that one could take this to mean:

  1. The nobler man has emotions.
  2. The nobler man is not perfect.
  3. Hi Opal! (I never done that before) :slight_smile:
  4. etc.

So is there a word that would describe this type of phrase?


jsc1953, you are absolutely correct!

The presence of two or more distinct meanings for a single word or expression.

I always laugh when I drive past a sign that says “Speed checked by radar,” cause all I can think about is that guy from MAS*H hiding behind a tree with a serious look on his face and a radar gun in his hands…

Crack me up every time.

But Cpl. O’Reilly wouldn’t need a radar gun … he already IS radar … maybe a pencil stub behind his ear.