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[in-di-stingkt] /ˌɪn dɪˈstɪŋkt/
not distinct; not clearly marked or defined:
indistinct markings.
not clearly distinguishable or perceptible, as to the eye, ear, or mind:
He heard an indistinct muttering.
not distinguishing clearly:
After the accident he suffered from indistinct vision and faulty hearing.
Origin of indistinct
From the Latin word indistinctus, dating back to 1520-30. See in-3, distinct
Related forms
indistinctly, adverb
indistinctness, noun
2. blurred, clouded, dim. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for indistinctly
Historical Examples
  • "Not all skill—not all skill," piped the metallic voice, indistinctly.

    Roden's Corner Henry Seton Merriman
  • "You know everything," she answered, indistinctly, through her fingers.

    Tales of Unrest Joseph Conrad
  • “You should have the Croix de Guerre,” he said indistinctly.

    The Crimson Tide Robert W. Chambers
  • But a fog lay over the water, and he could see the geese but indistinctly.

  • At the same moment I heard, indistinctly, a strange, rumbling sound.

    Left on Labrador

    Charles Asbury Stephens
  • I saw these, but indistinctly, not half comprehending the wonderful picture.

  • indistinctly, vaguely, he recalled things that had happened.

    The Mask

    Arthur Hornblow
  • In the semi-darkness of the rocky defile he could see the lion but indistinctly.

    Dave Porter in the Gold Fields Edward Stratemeyer
  • In the shadow I had seen him only indistinctly; and as he passed under the lights I saw him not.

    The Quadroon Mayne Reid
  • People pressed around him, but so indistinctly he could not recognize them.

British Dictionary definitions for indistinctly


incapable of being clearly distinguished, as by the eyes, ears, or mind; not distinct
Derived Forms
indistinctly, adverb
indistinctness, noun
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 indistinctly



c.1400 (implied in indistinctly "equally, alike"), from Latin indistinctus "not distinct, confused," from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + distinctus (see distinct). Related: Indistinctly; indistinctness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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