SKIP TO CONTENT

gray area

A gray area is a situation that's unclear or open to interpretation. The sign on the door of the cafe clearly states dogs aren't allowed — whether you can bring your pet goat inside is a gray area.

Something that's a gray area is ambiguous — in other words, it's not clearly stated or doesn't fit neatly into a set of rules or a category. Certain laws need to be reworked after they're written if there are gray areas, or situations that haven't been accounted for. Some documents include gray areas that are essentially loopholes that allow people to avoid an obligation like paying taxes. "Writing off my laptop as a business expense is a gray area."

Definitions of gray area
  1. noun
    an intermediate area; a topic that is not clearly one thing or the other
    synonyms: grey area
    see moresee less
    type of:
    area
    a subject of study
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week