- (of meaning) not clear or plain; ambiguous, vague, or uncertain: an obscure sentence in the contract.
- not clear to the understanding; hard to perceive: obscure motivations.
- (of language, style, a speaker, etc.) not expressing the meaning clearly or plainly.
- indistinct to the sight or any other sense; not readily seen, heard, etc.; faint.
- inconspicuous or unnoticeable: the obscure beginnings of a great movement.
- of little or no prominence, note, fame, or distinction: an obscure French artist.
- far from public notice, worldly affairs, or important activities; remote; retired: an obscure little town.
- lacking in light or illumination; dark; dim; murky: an obscure back room.
- enveloped in, concealed by, or frequenting darkness.
- not bright or lustrous; dull or darkish, as color or appearance.
- (of a vowel) having the reduced or neutral sound usually represented by the schwa (ə).
- to conceal or conceal by confusing (the meaning of a statement, poem, etc.).
- to make dark, dim, indistinct, etc.
- to reduce or neutralize (a vowel) to the sound usually represented by a schwa (ə).
Origin of obscure
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for obscure
And too much of a focus on numbers can obscure strategic truths.Pentagon Doesn’t Know How Many People It’s Killed in the ISIS War
Nancy A. Youssef
January 7, 2015
But the authority of his name far exceeds that of our own, famous or obscure though we be.No Gods, No Cops, No Masters
January 1, 2015
Astrology and black magic are forbidden in Islam; not an obscure point and one that Monis likely knew.The Sydney Astrologer Turned Islamic Radical
December 16, 2014
Whether it was actual ignorance, senility, or some obscure test, it's hard to know.
He can barely speak the titles, but manages to let Viridiana and That Obscure Object of Desire pass from his lips.
Words are not more than tasteless drapery to obscure their lines.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
It was about half-past eight, and the night had been obscure for some time.
We should not let the much that is to do obscure the much which has been done.
This was still an obscure question, to which, in her inexperience, she found no answer.The Dream
His parentage was obscure, and he was generally known only by his nickname of Professor.The Secret Agent
- unclear or abstruse
- indistinct, vague, or indefinite
- inconspicuous or unimportant
- hidden, secret, or remote
- (of a vowel) reduced to or transformed into a neutral vowel (ə)
- gloomy, dark, clouded, or dim
- to make unclear, vague, or hidden
- to cover or cloud over
- phonetics to pronounce (a vowel) with articulation that causes it to become a neutral sound represented by (ə)
- a rare word for obscurity
Word Origin and History for obscure
c.1400, "dark," figuratively "morally unenlightened; gloomy," from Old French obscur, oscur "dark, clouded, gloomy; dim, not clear" (12c.) and directly from Latin obscurus "dark, dusky, shady," figuratively "unknown; unintelligible; hard to discern; from insignificant ancestors," from ob "over" (see ob-) + -scurus "covered," from PIE *(s)keu- "to cover, conceal" (see sky). Related: Obscurely.
early 15c., "to cover (something), cloud over," from obscure (adj.) or else from Middle French obscurer, from Latin obscurare "to make dark, darken, obscure," from obscurus. Related: Obscured; obscuring.