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  1. not distinct; not clearly marked or defined: indistinct markings.
  2. not clearly distinguishable or perceptible, as to the eye, ear, or mind: He heard an indistinct muttering.
  3. not distinguishing clearly: After the accident he suffered from indistinct vision and faulty hearing.
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Origin of indistinct

From the Latin word indistinctus, dating back to 1520–30. See in-3, distinct
Related formsin·dis·tinct·ly, adverbin·dis·tinct·ness, noun


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2. blurred, clouded, dim.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

darkness, uncertainty, obscureness, ambiguity, dimness, indistinctness, fuzziness, anonymity, murk, obscurity, smother, fumes, fog, film, miasma, smog, mist, steam, cloud, vapor

Examples from the Web for indistinctness

Historical Examples

  • He articulated with some difficulty, slurring his words to the point of indistinctness at times.

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • Yet greater is the indistinctness when they are all jostled together in a little soul, which has no room.

  • Each of them peered through the indistinctness of the dusk at the other two.

  • The unmerited are to be attributed to the indistinctness of my rapid penmanship.

    The Popham Colony

    William Frederick Poole

  • Indistinctness may arise from the employment of equivocal terms in the definition.


    George Grote

British Dictionary definitions for indistinctness


  1. incapable of being clearly distinguished, as by the eyes, ears, or mind; not distinct
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Derived Formsindistinctly, adverbindistinctness, 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

Word Origin and History for indistinctness



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper