adjective, ob·scur·er, ob·scur·est.

verb (used with object), ob·scured, ob·scur·ing.


Nearby words

  1. obscenity,
  2. obscurant,
  3. obscurantism,
  4. obscurantist,
  5. obscuration,
  6. obscurity,
  7. obscurum per obscurius,
  8. obsecrate,
  9. obsecration,
  10. obsequence

Origin of obscure

1350–1400; Middle English < Old French oscur, obscur < Latin obscūrus dark

Related forms

Synonym study

1. See mysterious. 8. See dark.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for obscure

British Dictionary definitions for obscure



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

verb (tr)

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
Derived Formsobscuration (ˌɒbskjʊˈreɪʃən), nounobscurely, adverbobscureness, noun

Word Origin for obscure

C14: via Old French from Latin obscūrus dark

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 obscure
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper