- 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.
- 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: OFr obscur from Classical Latin obscurus, literally , covered over from ob- (see ob-) plush Indo-European an unverified form skuro- from base an unverified form (s)keu-, to cover, conceal from source hide, sky
- 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: L obscurare < the adj.
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
adjective ob·scur·er, ob·scur·est
- Deficient in light; dark.
- a. So faintly perceptible as to lack clear delineation; indistinct. See Synonyms at dark.b. Indistinctly heard; faint.c. Linguistics Having the reduced, neutral sound represented by schwa (ə).
- 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: “an impulse to go off and fight certain obscure battles of his own spirit” (Anatole Broyard). See Synonyms at ambiguous.
- To make dim or indistinct: Smog obscured our view. See Synonyms at block.
- To conceal in obscurity; hide: “Unlike the origins of most nations, America's origins are not obscured in the mists of time” (National Review).
- Linguistics To reduce (a vowel) to the neutral sound represented by schwa (ə).
Origin: Middle English, from Old French obscur, from Latin obscūrus; see (s)keu- in Indo-European roots.
- ob·scureˈly adverb
- ob·scureˈness noun