[neb-yuh-luh s]


hazy, vague, indistinct, or confused: a nebulous recollection of the meeting; a nebulous distinction between pride and conceit.
cloudy or cloudlike.
of or resembling a nebula or nebulae in deep space; nebular.

Origin of nebulous

1375–1425; late Middle English < Latin nebulōsus full of mist, foggy, cloudy. See nebula, -ous
Related formsneb·u·lous·ly, adverbneb·u·lous·ness, nounnon·neb·u·lous, adjectivenon·neb·u·lous·ly, adverbnon·neb·u·lous·ness, nounqua·si-neb·u·lous, adjectivequa·si-neb·u·lous·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for nebulously

Historical Examples of nebulously

  • She had never conceived of the form of God except as nebulously naked, and the thought-association was startling.

    The Game

    Jack London

  • Nebulously, the idea of a League of Civilized Worlds began to take shape in his mind.

    Space Viking

    Henry Beam Piper

  • On turning a corner they beheld the Hotel Orilla del Mar three streets away, nebulously aglow with its array of kerosene lamps.


    O. Henry

British Dictionary definitions for nebulously



lacking definite form, shape, or content; vague or amorphousnebulous reasons
of, characteristic of, or resembling a nebula
rare misty or hazy
Derived Formsnebulously, adverbnebulousness, 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 nebulously



late 14c., "cloudy, misty," from Latin nebulosus "cloudy, misty, foggy, full of vapor," from nebula (see nebula). The figurative sense of "hazy, vague, formless" is first attested 1831. Astronomical sense is from 1670s. Related: Nebulously; nebulousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper