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obscure

verb

  1. (conceal)  to make less visible or unclear
    Synonyms: becloud, befog, cloud, fog, haze over, mist, obnubilate. Type of: hide
  2. (confuse)  to make unclear, indistinct, or blurred
    Synonyms: blur, bumfuzzle [southern United States], confuse, obnubilate. Type of: change. Similar...
  3. (bedim)  to make obscure or unclear
    Synonyms: bedim, over-cloud, overcloud. Type of: change
  4. (linguistics)  to reduce a vowel to a neutral one, such as a schwa
    Topic: linguistics. Type of: reduce
  5. (obliterate)  to make undecipherable or imperceptible by obscuring or concealing
    Synonyms: blot out, hide, obliterate, veil. Type of: change. Similar to: obliterate

adjective

  1. (unclear)  not clearly understood or expressed
    Synonyms: vague, obs. [abbreviation]. Similar to: unclear
  2. (incomprehensible)  marked by difficulty of style or expression
    Synonyms: dark. Similar to: incomprehensible
  3. (concealed)  difficult to find
    Synonyms: hidden. Similar to: concealed
  4. (inglorious)  not famous or acclaimed
    Synonyms: unknown, unsung, obs. [abbreviation]. Similar to: inglorious
  5. (inconspicuous)  not drawing attention
    Synonyms: unnoticeable. Similar to: inconspicuous
  6. (unconnected)  remote and separate physically or socially
    Synonyms: apart [predicate], isolated, obs. [abbreviation]. Similar to: unconnected

Etymology summary

[adjective] from Old French obscur "dark, dim, not clear", from ... | [verb]...
(Source: Online Etymology)  [more]

Definition references

Collins Dictionary:

obscure | obscurity [rare, sense-specific]

unclear or abstruse | indistinct, vague, or indefinite | inconspicuous or unimportant | hidden, secret, or remote | (of a vowel) reduced to or ... (20 of 598 words, 10 definitions, 9 usage examples, pronunciation)

www​.collinsdictionary​.com​/dictionary​/english​/obscure

Merriam-Webster:

obscurity | obscurities [plural] | ambiguity [synonym, sense-specific] | ambiguousness [synonym, sense-specific] | darkness [synonym, sense-specific] | equivocalness [synonym, sense-specific] | equivocation [synonym, sense-specific] | inscrutability [synonym, sense-specific] | inscrutableness [synonym, sense-specific] | ...

one that is obscure | the quality or state of being obscure (11 of 159 words, 2 definitions, pronunciation)

www​.merriam-webster​.com​/dictionary​/obscurity

obscure [entry 1, adjective] | faint [synonym, sense-specific] | dark [synonym, sense-specific] | also [synonym, sense-specific] | remote [synonym, sense-specific] | dim [synonym, sense-specific] | secluded [synonym, sense-specific] | ambiguous [synonym, sense-specific] | arcane [synonym, sense-specific] | ...

"dark", "dim" ; shrouded in or hidden by darkness ; not clearly seen or easily distinguished; "faint" | not readily understood or clearly expressed ; ... (24 of 530 words, 4 definitions, 10 usage examples, pronunciation)

www​.merriam-webster​.com​/dictionary​/obscure

obscure [entry 2, verb] | obscured [past tense] | obscuring [present participle] | belie [synonym, sense-specific] | blanket [synonym, sense-specific] | blot out [synonym, sense-specific] | cloak [synonym, sense-specific] | cover [synonym, sense-specific] | curtain [synonym, sense-specific] | ...

to make dark, dim, or indistinct | to conceal or hide by or as if by covering | to reduce (a vowel) to the value \ə\ (24 of 309 words, 3 definitions, pronunciations)

www​.merriam-webster​.com​/dictionary​/obscure show=1

Random House Dictionary:

obscure | obscured [past tense] | obscuring [present participle] | obscurer [comparative] | obscurest [superlative] | obscurity [synonym, sense-specific]

(of meaning) not clear or plain; ambiguous, vague, or uncertain. | not clear to the understanding; hard to perceive. | (of language, style, a speaker, ... (23 of 199 words, 15 definitions, 6 usage examples, pronunciation)

dictionary​.infoplease​.com​/obscure

American Heritage Dictionary:

obscure | obscured [past tense] | obscuring [present participle] | obscures [3rd-person singular present] | obscurer [comparative] | obscurest [superlative] | obscurely [adverb, related] | obscureness [noun, related]

Deficient in light; dark. | So faintly perceptible as to lack clear delineation; indistinct. | Indistinctly heard; faint. | [linguistics] Having the ... (19 of 180 words, 13 definitions, 7 usage examples, pronunciation)

www​.yourdictionary​.com​/obscure

New World Dictionary:

obscure | obscured [past tense] | obscuring [present participle] | obscurely [adverb, related] | obscureness [noun, related]

lacking light; dim; dark; murky | not easily perceived; specifically, ; not clear or distinct; faint or undefined ; not easily understood; vague; ... (22 of 144 words, 7 definitions, 7 usage examples, pronunciation)

www​.yourdictionary​.com​/obscure

Oxford Dictionary:

obscure | obscurer [comparative] | obscurest [superlative] | uncertain [synonym, sense-specific] | vague [synonym, sense-specific] | conceal [synonym, sense-specific] | obscuration [derived] | obscurely [derived]

not discovered or known about; uncertain | not important or well known | not clearly expressed or easily understood | hard to make out or define; ... (23 of 142 words, 7 definitions, 8 usage examples, pronunciations)

oxforddictionaries​.com​/definition​/english​/obscure

Wiktionary:

obscure | obscured [past tense] | obscuring [present participle] | obscures [3rd-person singular present] | hidden [past tense] | enigmatic [synonym, sense-specific] | mysterious [synonym, sense-specific] | esoteric [synonym, sense-specific] | clear [antonym, sense-specific]

Dark, faint or indistinct. | Hidden, out of sight or inconspicuous. | Difficult to understand. | [transitive] To darken, make faint etc. | [transitive] To hide, put out of sight etc. | [intransitive, obsolete] To conceal oneself; to hide. (34 of 113 words, 6 definitions, 1 usage example, pronunciations)

en​.wiktionary​.org​/wiki​/obscure

Macmillan British Dictionary:

obscure | obscurer [comparative] | obscurest [superlative] | for some obscure reason | obscurely [adverb, related]

not known about, or not well known | not clearly expressed, or not easy to understand | "for some obscure reason": used for saying that you do not ... (26 of 97 words, 3 definitions, 5 usage examples, pronunciation)

www​.macmillandictionary​.com​/dictionary​/british​/obscure

obscure [transitive, verb] | obscured [past tense] | obscuring [present participle] | obscures [3rd-person singular present]

to cover something so that it cannot be seen | to make something difficult to understand (15 of 69 words, 2 definitions, 3 usage examples, pronunciation)

www​.macmillandictionary​.com​/dictionary​/british​/obscure 9

Wikipedia:

Obscure [disambiguation]

may refer to: ObsCure, a survival horror video game released in 2004 | "Obscure" (song), by Japanese rock band Dir en grey, from Vulgar | Obscure Records, started by Brian Eno in 1975 to release works by lesser-known composers | Obscurity (disambiguation) (39 of 91 words, 4 definitions)

en​.wikipedia​.org​/wiki​/Obscure

Cambridge Dictionary:

obscure [entry 1]

not known to many people (5 of 21 words, 2 usage examples, pronunciations)

dictionary​.cambridge​.org​/dictionary​/british​/obscure 1

obscure [entry 2]

not clear and difficult to understand or see (8 of 29 words, 2 usage examples, pronunciations)

dictionary​.cambridge​.org​/dictionary​/british​/obscure 2

obscure [entry 3] | obscurely [adverb, derived]

to prevent something from being seen or heard | to make something difficult to discover and understand (16 of 55 words, 2 definitions, 4 usage examples, pronunciations)

dictionary​.cambridge​.org​/dictionary​/british​/obscure 3

Encarta Dictionary:

obscure | obscured [past tense] | obscuring [present participle] | obscures [3rd-person singular present] | obscurer [comparative] | obscurest [superlative]

difficult to understand because of not being fully or clearly expressed | not able to be seen or heard distinctly | not important or well-known | ... (23 of 397 words, 8 definitions, pronunciations)

encarta​.msn​.com​/dictionary 1861684320​/definition​.html  [offline]

Etymology references

Online Etymology:

obscure

First use: early 15th century

Origin: [adjective] from Old French obscur "dark, dim, not clear", from ... | [verb] from "obscure" (adjective). (18 of 52 etymology words)

www​.etymonline​.com​/index​.php term=obscure

New World Dictionary:

obscure | obscured [past tense] | obscuring [present participle]

Origin: Old French obscur from Latin obscurus, literally, covered ... | Latin obscurare from the adjective (14 of 29 etymology words)

www​.yourdictionary​.com​/obscure

Wiktionary:

obscure | obscured [past tense] | obscuring [present participle] | obscures [3rd-person singular present]

Origin: French obscur, from Latin obscūrus ("dark, dusky, indistinct"), possibly, from ob ("over") + -scurus ("covered"), from root scu ("cover"), seen also in scutum ("a shield"); see scutum, sky.

en​.wiktionary​.org​/wiki​/obscure

Oxford Dictionary:

obscure | obscurer [comparative] | obscurest [superlative]

Origin: late Middle English: from Old French obscur, from Latin obscurus "dark", from an Indo-European root meaning "cover"

oxforddictionaries​.com​/definition​/english​/obscure

American Heritage Dictionary:

obscure | obscured [past tense] | obscuring [present participle] | obscures [3rd-person singular present] | obscurer [comparative] | obscurest [superlative]

Origin: Middle English, from Old French obscur, from Latin obscūrus; see skeu- in Indo-European roots.

www​.yourdictionary​.com​/obscure

Collins Dictionary:

obscure

First use: 14th century

Origin: via Old French from Latin obscūrus dark

www​.collinsdictionary​.com​/dictionary​/english​/obscure

Merriam-Webster:

obscure [entry 1, adjective]

First use: 15th century

Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French oscur, obscur, from Latin obscurus

www​.merriam-webster​.com​/dictionary​/obscure

Encarta Dictionary:

obscure | obscured [past tense] | obscuring [present participle] | obscures [3rd-person singular present] | obscurer [comparative] | obscurest [superlative]

First use: 14th century

Origin: Old French from Latin obscurus "covered over" from -scurus "covered"

encarta​.msn​.com​/dictionary 1861684320​/definition​.html  [offline]

Audio references

Wiktionary:

obscure | obscured [past tense] | obscuring [present participle] | obscures [3rd-person singular present]

Audio: North American English pronunciation of "obscure"

en​.wiktionary​.org​/wiki​/obscure

Collins Dictionary:

obscure

Audio 1: North American English pronunciation of "obscure"

Audio 2: British English pronunciation of "obscure"

www​.collinsdictionary​.com​/dictionary​/english​/obscure

Macmillan British Dictionary:

obscure | obscurer [comparative] | obscurest [superlative]

Audio: British English pronunciation of "obscure"

www​.macmillandictionary​.com​/dictionary​/british​/obscure

obscure [transitive, verb] | obscured [past tense] | obscuring [present participle] | obscures [3rd-person singular present]

Audio: British English pronunciation of "obscure"

www​.macmillandictionary​.com​/dictionary​/british​/obscure 9

Macmillan American Dictionary:

obscure | obscurer [comparative] | obscurest [superlative]

Audio: North American pronunciation of "obscure"

www​.macmillandictionary​.com​/dictionary​/american​/obscure

obscure [transitive, verb] | obscured [past tense] | obscuring [present participle] | obscures [3rd-person singular present]

Audio: North American pronunciation of "obscure"

www​.macmillandictionary​.com​/dictionary​/american​/obscure 9

Cambridge Dictionary:

obscure [entry 3]

Audio 1: British English pronunuciation of "obscure"

Audio 2: North American English pronunuciation of "obscure"

dictionary​.cambridge​.org​/dictionary​/british​/obscure 3

the Free Dictionary:

obscure

Audio 1: North American English pronunciation of "obscure"

Audio 2: British English pronunciation of "obscure"

Audio 3: North American English pronunciation of "obscure" by speech synthesizer

www​.thefreedictionary​.com​/obscure

Google Dictionary:

obscure | obscured [past tense] | obscuring [present participle] | obscures [3rd-person singular present] | obscurer [comparative] | obscurest [superlative]

Audio: English pronunciation of "obscure"

www​.google​.com​/#hl=en&tbs=dfn​:1&fp=1&q=obscure

Merriam-Webster Pronunciation:

obscure

Audio: North American pronunciation of "obscure"

www​.merriam-webster​.com​/audio​.php file=obscur​05 word=obscure

YourDictionary Audio:

obscure

Audio: North American English pronunciation of "obscure" by speech synthesizer

www​.yourdictionary​.com​/obscure

Page last updated: 2013-06-26

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