obscure[əb skyo̵or′, äb-]
- The definition of obscure is hard to see in the low light or hard to understand.
An example of obscure is the scene on a concert stage when the lighting is dim.
- Obscure is defined as to make confusing or hard to see.
An example of obscure is for a student to use important-sounding words in his science paper to hide the fact that he didn't understand the subject matter.
This stage is obscured by the lighting and fog.
- lacking light; dim; dark; murky: the obscure night
- not easily perceived; specif.,
- not clear or distinct; faint or undefined: an obscure figure or sound
- not easily understood; vague; cryptic; ambiguous: an obscure explanation
- in an inconspicuous position; hidden: an obscure village
- not well-known; not famous: an obscure scientist
- Phonet. pronounced as (ə) or (i) because it is not stressed; reduced; neutral: said of a vowel
Origin of obscureOld French obscur ; from Classical Latin obscurus, literally , covered over ; from ob- (see ob-) + Indo-European an unverified form skuro- ; from base an unverified form (s)keu-, to cover, conceal from source hide, sky
transitive verbobscured, obscuring
- to make obscure; specif.,
- to darken; make dim
- to conceal from view; hide
- to make less conspicuous; overshadow: a success that obscured earlier failures
- to make less intelligible; confuse: testimony that obscures the issue
- Phonet. to make (a vowel) obscure
Origin of obscureL obscurare < the adj.
- Deficient in light; dark: the obscure depths of a cave.
- a. So faintly perceptible as to lack clear delineation; indistinct: an obscure figure in the fog.b. Indistinctly heard; faint.c. Linguistics Having the reduced, neutral sound represented by schwa (&schwa;).
- a. Far from centers of human population: an obscure village.b. Out of sight; hidden: an obscure retreat.
- Not readily noticed or seen; inconspicuous: an obscure flaw.
- Of undistinguished or humble station or reputation: an obscure poet; an obscure family.
- Not clearly understood or expressed; ambiguous or vague: Some say that Blake's style is obscure and complex. See Synonyms at ambiguous.
transitive verbob·scured, ob·scur·ing, ob·scures
- To make dim, indistinct, or impossible to see: “His face was obscured in shadow” (Rosemary Mahoney). See Synonyms at block.
- To make difficult to discern mentally or understand: The meaning of the text was obscured by its difficult language.
- To diminish the stature of; overshadow or detract from: “[His] character was so repellent that it has obscured his historical role” (David Rains Wallace).
- Linguistics To reduce (a vowel) to the neutral sound represented by schwa (&schwa;).
Origin of obscureMiddle English, from Old French obscur, from Latin obscūrus; see (s)keu- in Indo-European roots.
(comparative obscurer or more obscure, superlative obscurest or most obscure)
- The comparative obscurer and superlative obscurest, though formed by valid rules for English, are less common than more obscure and most obscure.
(third-person singular simple present obscures, present participle obscuring, simple past and past participle obscured)
- To render obscure; to darken; to make dim; to keep in the dark; to hide; to make less visible, intelligible, legible, glorious, beautiful, or illustrious.
- To hide, put out of sight etc.
- "I realized that the purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure poor reasoning, and inhibit clarity." Bill Watterson, Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat page 62