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verb (used with object), blurred, blur·ring.
  1. to obscure or sully (something) by smearing or with a smeary substance: The windows were blurred with soot.
  2. to obscure by making confused in form or outline; make indistinct: The fog blurred the outline of the car.
  3. to dim the perception or susceptibility of; make dull or insensible: The blow on the head blurred his senses.
verb (used without object), blurred, blur·ring.
  1. to become indistinct: Everything blurred as she ran.
  2. to make blurs.
  1. a smudge or smear that obscures: a blur of smoke.
  2. a blurred condition; indistinctness: They could see nothing in the foggy blur.
  3. something seen indistinctly: The ship appeared as a blur against the horizon.

Origin of blur

First recorded in 1540–50; akin to blear
Related formsblur·red·ly [blur-id-lee, blurd-] /ˈblɜr ɪd li, ˈblɜrd-/, adverbblur·red·ness, nounblur·ring·ly, adverbun·blurred, adjective


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2. cloud, dim, darken, veil, mask.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for blur

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The girl's dress remained a spot of cheerful color; her face was a blur.

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • A face was there—a man with a blur of opalescent light behind him.

    The World Beyond

    Raymond King Cummings

  • Page after page of the neatest of minute figures, not a blot, not a blur, not an erasure.

    The Portygee

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

  • The propeller vanished in a blur as Jeter let the motor out.

  • Time will blur the incongruities and moss over the mistakes.

British Dictionary definitions for blur


verb blurs, blurring or blurred
  1. to make or become vague or less distinctheat haze blurs the hills; education blurs class distinctions
  2. to smear or smudge
  3. (tr) to make (the judgment, memory, or perception) less clear; dim
  1. something vague, hazy, or indistinct
  2. a smear or smudge
Derived Formsblurred, adjectiveblurredly (ˈblɜːrɪdlɪ, ˈblɜːd-), adverbblurredness, nounblurriness, nounblurry, adjective

Word Origin

C16: perhaps variant of blear
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

Word Origin and History for blur


1540s, "smear on the surface of writing;" perhaps akin to blear. Extended sense of "confused dimness" is from 1860.


1580s, and thus probably from blur (n.), but the dates are close and either might be the original. Related: Blurred; blurring.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper