Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ambiguous headline

This morning's DeSoto Sun carries the headline "Russian president fires PM, nominates ambiguous candidate."

The adjective "ambiguous" applies to language or actions that have more than one meaning. (Look it up.) If a copy editor intends it as a synonym for "obscure," which is the word used in the story to describe a relatively unknown Russian politcian, that editor has shot embarrasingly wide of the mark. "Obscure" describes a veiled or hidden object, meaning, or intention. (Look it up.) The candidate Putin nominated emerged from the shadows; he was obscured by relative anonymity. There is nothing in the story about the new PM being ambiguous.

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