[ uh b-skyoo r-i-tee ]
/ əbˈskyʊər ɪ ti /

noun, plural ob·scu·ri·ties.

the state or quality of being obscure.
the condition of being unknown: He lived in obscurity for years before winning acclaim.
uncertainty of meaning or expression; ambiguity.
an unknown or unimportant person or thing.
darkness; dimness; indistinctness.

Nearby words

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

Origin of obscurity

1470–80; late Middle English < Middle French obscurite < Latin obscūritās, equivalent to obscūr(us) obscure + -itās -ity

Related formsnon·ob·scu·ri·ty, noun, plural non·ob·scu·ri·ties.

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

Examples from the Web for obscurity

British Dictionary definitions for obscurity


/ (əbˈskjʊərɪtɪ) /

noun plural -ties

the state or quality of being obscure
an obscure person or thing
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 obscurity



late 15c., "absence of light;" 1610s with meaning "condition of being unknown;" from obscure (adj.) + -ity; or else from Middle French obscurité, variant of Old French oscureté "darkness, gloom; vagueness, confusion; insignificance" (14c.), from Latin obscuritatem (nominative obscuritas) "darkness, indistinctness, uncertainty," from obscurus.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper