2/28/2005

To Disambiguate or Not to Disambiguate.

Recently we got a Messageboard post from a regular at eggheadcafe.com asking what the XMLNS namespace declarations were for in his XSL stylesheet document. I fired back almost subliminally,
"To disambiguate..." Of course I know what it means, but a lot of people aren't sure. Just to see what's out there I googled the word and got 159,000 hits. The most common definitions and usage examples:

  • To establish a single grammatical or semantic interpretation for.

  • State unambiguously or remove ambiguities from. [this one is a no-no- dictionaries should never resort to using another form of the same word they are attempting to define! These guys actually did it twice in the same sentence. DOH!]

  • Namespaces disambiguate elements with the same name from each other by attaching different prefixes to names from different XML applications.

  • >No really, it's a word! It means to clarify a term.



Don't you gotta just love that last one. It actually comes from the Jargon Database, which coincidentally doesn't even have a definition for the root form, "ambiguous".