- (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 for obscure on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for obscurely
Some 50 detectives are now poring over this paperwork in the obscurely named "Operation Weeting."Inside the Shadowy World of Phone-Hacking
April 23, 2011
Obscurely wounded in his pride, he tried to wound them in return.Howards End
E. M. Forster
Obscurely, no doubt, there was something about a woman in it.The Market-Place
The little burro, now obscurely melancholic, grazed in the meadow.The Trimming of Goosie
He only felt it obscurely to be his real personality—the true—and, perhaps, the absurd.Within the Tides
This work of mental exaltation was brought about obscurely but surely.The Works of Guy de Maupassant, Volume VIII.
Guy de Maupassant
- 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 obscurely
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.