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[uh b-skyoo r-i-tee] /əbˈskyʊər ɪ ti/
noun, plural obscurities.
the state or quality of being obscure.
the condition of being unknown:
He lived in obscurity for years before winning acclaim.
uncertainty of meaning or expression; ambiguity.
an unknown or unimportant person or thing.
darkness; dimness; indistinctness.
Origin of obscurity
late Middle English
1470-80; late Middle English < Middle French obscurite < Latin obscūritās, equivalent to obscūr(us) obscure + -itās -ity
Related forms
nonobscurity, noun, plural nonobscurities. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for obscurity
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Cold with dread I gazed at him in the obscurity of the tent.

    Memoirs of a Midget Walter de la Mare
  • To some, obscurity itself is attractive, from the hope that worthiness is the cause of it.

    A Dish Of Orts George MacDonald
  • The etymological origin of this epithet is already lost in obscurity.

  • Our ignorance of the opinions which Plato is attacking is also an element of obscurity.

    Philebus Plato
  • In some places, owing to the obscurity of the original text, I have had to amplify the translation.

    Deccan Nursery Tales Charles Augustus Kincaid
British Dictionary definitions for obscurity


noun (pl) -ties
the state or quality of being obscure
an obscure person or thing
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
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Word Origin and History for obscurity

late 15c., "absence of light;" 1610s with meaning "condition of being unknown;" from obscure (adj.) + -ity; or else from Middle French obscurité, variant of Old French oscureté "darkness, gloom; vagueness, confusion; insignificance" (14c.), from Latin obscuritatem (nominative obscuritas) "darkness, indistinctness, uncertainty," from obscurus.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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