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French amphigouri, of uncertain derivation; perhaps from Ancient Greek ἀμφί (amphí) + γῦρος (gûros, circle) or -αγορία (-agoría, speech).


  • IPA(key): /ˈæm.fɪ.ɡɔ.ɹi/


amphigory (plural amphigories)

  1. A nonsense verse; a rigmarole, which is meaningless despite possibly appearing to have meaning.
    • 1919, Edmund Gosse, “The Lyrical Poetry of Thomas Hardy”, in Some Diversions of a Man of Letters[1], London: Heinemann, page 253:
      There is always a danger that a poet, in search after the infinitely ingenious, may lapse into amphigory, into sheer absurdity and triviality, which Cowper, in spite of his elegant lightness, does not always escape.
    • 1954, Robert A. Heinlein, chapter 6, in The Star Beast[2], New York: Ballantine, page 100:
      Greenberg answered with the same sort of polite amphigory the cosmic linguist had selected. “I have long wished for the boon of experiencing in person the scholarly aura of Dr. Ftaeml, but I had never dared let the wish blossom into hope. Your servant and pupil, sir.”
    • 1990, Andrew Neher, chapter 7, in The Psychology of Transcendence[3], New York: Dover, page 284:
      You will notice that the selection by Hiraf is either meaningless or ambiguous when analyzed, although it has an impressive ring at first reading. Nonsense statements such as these are known as amphigory and are characteristic of much occult metaphysics. Amphigory, of course, allows readers to project their own meaning into such statements, since there is little inherent meaning to begin with

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