Duplicity, indistinctness, or uncertainty of meaning of an expression used in a written instrument.

Ambiguity of language is to be distinguished from unintelligibility and inaccuracy, for words cannot be said to be ambiguous unless their signification seems doubtful and uncertain to persons of competent skill  and knowledge to understand them.  It does not include uncertainty arising from the use of peculiar words, or of common words in peculiar sense.

An ambiguity is latent where the language employed is clear and intelligible and suggests but a single meaning, but some extrinsic fact or extraneous evidence creates a necessity for interpretation or a choice among two or more possible meanings, as were a description apparently plain and unambiguous is shown to bit different pieces of property.

A patent ambiguity is that which appears on the face of the instrument, and arises from the defective, obscure, or insensible language used.

Related entries