View synonyms for obscure


[ uhb-skyoor ]


, ob·scur·er, ob·scur·est.
  1. (of meaning) not clear or plain; ambiguous, vague, or uncertain:

    an obscure sentence in the contract.

    Synonyms: dubious, doubtful

    Antonyms: certain

  2. not clear to the understanding; hard to perceive:

    obscure motivations.

  3. (of language, style, a speaker, etc.) not expressing the meaning clearly or plainly.
  4. indistinct to the sight or any other sense; not readily seen, heard, etc.; faint.

    Synonyms: veiled

    Antonyms: clear

  5. inconspicuous or unnoticeable:

    the obscure beginnings of a great movement.

  6. of little or no prominence, note, fame, or distinction:

    an obscure French artist.

    Synonyms: unknown, undistinguished

    Antonyms: conspicuous, noted

  7. far from public notice, worldly affairs, or important activities; remote; retired:

    an obscure little town.

    Synonyms: inconspicuous, secluded

  8. lacking in light or illumination; dark; dim; murky:

    an obscure back room.

    Synonyms: somber, shadowy, dusky

    Antonyms: bright

  9. enveloped in, concealed by, or frequenting darkness.
  10. not bright or lustrous; dull or darkish, as color or appearance.
  11. (of a vowel) having the reduced or neutral sound usually represented by the schwa (ə).

verb (used with object)

, ob·scured, ob·scur·ing.
  1. to conceal or conceal by confusing (the meaning of a statement, poem, etc.).
  2. to make dark, dim, indistinct, etc.
  3. to reduce or neutralize (a vowel) to the sound usually represented by a schwa (ə).



/ ˌɒbskjʊˈreɪʃən; əbˈskjʊə /


  1. unclear or abstruse
  2. indistinct, vague, or indefinite
  3. inconspicuous or unimportant
  4. hidden, secret, or remote
  5. (of a vowel) reduced to or transformed into a neutral vowel ( ə )
  6. gloomy, dark, clouded, or dim


  1. to make unclear, vague, or hidden
  2. to cover or cloud over
  3. phonetics to pronounce (a vowel) with articulation that causes it to become a neutral sound represented by ( ə )


  1. a rare word for obscurity
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Derived Forms

  • obscuration, noun
  • obˈscureness, noun
  • obˈscurely, adverb
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Other Words From

  • ob·scur·ed·ly [uh, b-, skyoor, -id-lee], ob·scure·ly adverb
  • ob·scure·ness noun
  • sub·ob·scure adjective
  • sub·ob·scure·ness noun
  • un·ob·scure adjective
  • un·ob·scure·ness noun
  • un·ob·scured adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of obscure1

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English, from Old French oscur, obscur, from Latin obscūrus “dark”
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Word History and Origins

Origin of obscure1

C14: via Old French from Latin obscūrus dark
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Synonym Study

See mysterious. See dark.
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Example Sentences

For me, the real gems are value-packed, reasonably priced wines from unheralded regions or from obscure grape varieties.

State prosecutors allege that Salsman took efforts to obscure his actions from his legal staff.

Nevertheless, before too much of 2021 passes by, it’s time to name the Top 10 anniversaries worthy of celebration this year — some obscure, some fairly famous, and one that had an unfair advantage helping to make it No.

If last week’s stock market frenzy surrounding GameStop had any public value, it might be that it served as an introduction for many to the once-obscure concept of shorting stocks.

From Quartz

This adaptibility means the algorithm is less likely to break as the world throws new or noisy information its way—like, for example, when rain obscures an autonomous car’s camera.

And too much of a focus on numbers can obscure strategic truths.

But the authority of his name far exceeds that of our own, famous or obscure though we be.

Astrology and black magic are forbidden in Islam; not an obscure point and one that Monis likely knew.

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.

When we got to the house we entered an obscure corridor and began to find our way up a dark and narrow staircase.

Disillusionment cut him to the quick, but had no power to obscure his rosy views of human nature.

He was recalled, and again moved, in calm triumph, from his obscure chambers to the regal palace of the minister.

It was an hour later that Black Hood came to an obscure little jewelry shop known simply as "Tauber's."

Like a clarion call the note rings in my ears, amidst the din of contending views and obscure phraseology.