- (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 on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for obscureness
Then it was rain, wind, obscureness of gloom, and lightning.The Mutiny of the Elsinore
The system of Spinosa—for I allude to him—is, it is true, in ill repute for its obscureness and unintelligibility.The philosophy of life, and philosophy of language, in a course of lectures
Frederick von Schlegel
- 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 obscureness
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.