follow Dictionary.com

Stories We Like: Novels For Language Lovers

obscure

[uh b-skyoo r] /əbˈskyʊər/
adjective, obscurer, obscurest.
1.
(of meaning) not clear or plain; ambiguous, vague, or uncertain:
an obscure sentence in the contract.
2.
not clear to the understanding; hard to perceive:
obscure motivations.
3.
(of language, style, a speaker, etc.) not expressing the meaning clearly or plainly.
4.
indistinct to the sight or any other sense; not readily seen, heard, etc.; faint.
5.
inconspicuous or unnoticeable:
the obscure beginnings of a great movement.
6.
of little or no prominence, note, fame, or distinction:
an obscure French artist.
7.
far from public notice, worldly affairs, or important activities; remote; retired:
an obscure little town.
8.
lacking in light or illumination; dark; dim; murky:
an obscure back room.
9.
enveloped in, concealed by, or frequenting darkness.
10.
not bright or lustrous; dull or darkish, as color or appearance.
11.
(of a vowel) having the reduced or neutral sound usually represented by the schwa (ə).
verb (used with object), obscured, obscuring.
12.
to conceal or conceal by confusing (the meaning of a statement, poem, etc.).
13.
to make dark, dim, indistinct, etc.
14.
to reduce or neutralize (a vowel) to the sound usually represented by a schwa (ə).
noun
15.
Origin
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English < Old French oscur, obscur < Latin obscūrus dark
Related forms
obscuredly
[uh b-skyoo r-id-lee] /əbˈskyʊər ɪd li/ (Show IPA),
obscurely, adverb
obscureness, noun
subobscure, adjective
subobscurely, adverb
subobscureness, noun
unobscure, adjective
unobscurely, adverb
unobscureness, noun
unobscured, adjective
Synonyms
1. doubtful, dubious. See mysterious. 4. blurred, veiled. 6. undistinguished, unnoted, unknown. 7. secluded, inconspicuous, unnoticeable, unnoticed. 8. cloudy, dusky, somber. See dark.
Antonyms
1. certain. 4. clear. 6. noted. 7. conspicuous. 8. bright.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for obscured
  • Putting all those businesses under one roof has obscured their individual values, investors have argued.
  • The focus on individual papers has obscured the larger patterns in the citation data, they say.
  • The labels were obscured by socks pulled up to the rim of each can, so to cheat a volunteer had only to lower the sock.
  • Details of the big bang are obscured by billions of years of cosmic history.
  • The farther north you happen to be, the more of the solar disk will be obscured by the moon as it transits.
  • Microphones often obscured performers, with wires snaking across the stage.
  • As far as can be checked from the partly obscured writing, only one of the five was done correctly.
  • What music archaeologists do is rather obscured by the name of their field.
  • Some of them wear spectacles whose lenses are obscured with the party symbol, a star.
  • Bright, direct sunlight will provide a better charge than sun obscured by clouds or windows.
British Dictionary definitions for obscured

obscure

/əbˈskjʊə/
adjective
1.
unclear or abstruse
2.
indistinct, vague, or indefinite
3.
inconspicuous or unimportant
4.
hidden, secret, or remote
5.
(of a vowel) reduced to or transformed into a neutral vowel (ə)
6.
gloomy, dark, clouded, or dim
verb (transitive)
7.
to make unclear, vague, or hidden
8.
to cover or cloud over
9.
(phonetics) to pronounce (a vowel) with articulation that causes it to become a neutral sound represented by (ə)
noun
10.
a rare word for obscurity
Derived Forms
obscuration (ˌɒbskjʊˈreɪʃən) noun
obscurely, adverb
obscureness, noun
Word Origin
C14: via Old French from Latin obscūrus dark
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for obscured

obscure

adj.

c.1400, "dark," figuratively "morally unenlightened; gloomy," from Old French obscur, oscur "dark, clouded, gloomy; dim, not clear" (12c.) and directly from Latin obscurus "dark, dusky, shady," figuratively "unknown; unintelligible; hard to discern; from insignificant ancestors," from ob "over" (see ob-) + -scurus "covered," from PIE *(s)keu- "to cover, conceal" (see sky). Related: Obscurely.

v.

early 15c., "to cover (something), cloud over," from obscure (adj.) or else from Middle French obscurer, from Latin obscurare "to make dark, darken, obscure," from obscurus. Related: Obscured; obscuring.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for obscure

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for obscured

13
16
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with obscured

Nearby words for obscured