Learn English – An Example of Lexical Semantic Ambiguity


As a joke, is

A seal walks into a club…

an example of semantic ambiguity, lexical ambiguity, or the expression I just recently discovered, lexical semantic ambiguity? Or put another way, is lexical ambiguity a sub-category of semantic ambiguity?

Best Answer

Following Wikipedia:

Lexical ambiguity is contrasted with semantic ambiguity. The former represents a choice between a finite number of known and meaningful context-dependent interpretations. The latter represents a choice between any number of possible interpretations, none of which may have a standard agreed-upon meaning. This form of ambiguity is closely related to vagueness.

The joke in question is based on precisely two meanings of the word "club", making this a lexical ambiguity.