Something that's murky is dim, gloomy or hard to see through clearly. Think of the dark fog around a haunted house or the cloudy, muddy water in a swamp.

Rarely used before the 17th century, this adjective came about by adding a "y" to the word murk. Murk itself evolved from myrkr, a Norse word for "darkness.” Things that are murky are unclear; that goes for murky, sediment-filled lakes, shady business deals, and arguments that don't seem to make any sense.

Definitions of murky
  1. adjective
    (of liquids) clouded as with sediment
    murky waters”
    synonyms: cloudy, mirky, muddy, turbid
    not transmitting or reflecting light or radiant energy; impenetrable to sight
  2. adjective
    dark or gloomy
    “a murky dungeon”
    murky rooms lit by smoke-blackened lamps”
    synonyms: mirky
    protected from heat and light with shade or shadow
  3. adjective
    not clearly understood or expressed
    synonyms: obscure, vague
    not clear to the mind
Word Family

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