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See more synonyms for vague on Thesaurus.com
adjective, va·guer, va·guest.
  1. not clearly or explicitly stated or expressed: vague promises.
  2. indefinite or indistinct in nature or character, as ideas or feelings: a vague premonition of disaster.
  3. not clear or distinct to the sight or any other sense; perceptible or recognizable only in an indefinite way: vague shapes in the dark; vague murmurs behind a door.
  4. not definitely established, determined, confirmed, or known; uncertain: a vague rumor; The date of his birth is vague.
  5. (of persons) not clear or definite in thought, understanding, or expression: vague about his motives; a vague person.
  6. (of the eyes, expression, etc.) showing lack of clear perception or understanding: a vague stare.
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Origin of vague

1540–50; (< Middle French) < Latin vagus wandering
Related formsvague·ly, adverbvague·ness, nounun·vague, adjectiveun·vague·ly, adverbun·vague·ness, noun


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for vagueness

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Then, as the journey went on, the vagueness began to define.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • The scientist was under no illusion as to the vagueness of the title "Chairman."

    Irresistible Weapon

    Horace Brown Fyfe

  • "It is very interesting," remarked the Duke, with vagueness.

    The Market-Place

    Harold Frederic

  • And then the vagueness of the warning—because what can be the meaning of the phrase: to spoil one's life?

    Some Reminiscences

    Joseph Conrad

  • Peter questioned with a vagueness that was pardonably exaggerated.

    The Tragic Muse

    Henry James

British Dictionary definitions for vagueness


  1. (of statements, meaning, etc) not explicit; imprecisevague promises
  2. not clearly perceptible or discernible; indistincta vague idea; a vague shape
  3. not clearly or definitely established or knowna vague rumour
  4. (of a person or his expression) demonstrating lack of precision or clear thinking; absent-minded
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Derived Formsvaguely, adverbvagueness, noun

Word Origin

C16: via French from Latin vagus wandering, of obscure origin
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 vagueness



1540s, from Middle French vague, from Latin vagus "wandering, rambling, vacillating, vague," of unknown origin. Related: Vagueness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper