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[uhn-uh b-troo-siv] /ˌʌn əbˈtru sɪv/
not obtrusive; inconspicuous, unassertive, or reticent.
Origin of unobtrusive
1735-45; un-1 + obtrusive
Related forms
unobtrusively, adverb
unobtrusiveness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for unobtrusive
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There was little sympathy between the haughty, imperious Josephine and her mild, unobtrusive sister.

    City Crimes Greenhorn
  • He left the scene of his daily labours quickly like an unobtrusive shadow.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • Though for the most part attained with great accuracy, they were few in number, and unobtrusive in kind.

    Self-control Mary Brunton
  • And when you do lie awake at night, it is always making its unobtrusive appeal.

    The Forest Stewart Edward White
  • He had fed her, too, with an unobtrusive, almost matter-of-fact tenderness which carried no suggestion of her helplessness.

    The Blood Red Dawn Charles Caldwell Dobie
  • But the comers and goers were all of the most unobtrusive and ordinary cast.

  • At last he came to England, where he lived for nearly twenty years the unobtrusive life of a man of letters.

British Dictionary definitions for unobtrusive


not noticeable or conspicuous
Derived Forms
unobtrusively, adverb
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 unobtrusive

from un- (1) + obtrusive. Related: Unobtrusively; unobtrusiveness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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