obscure

If something is obscure, it's vague and hard to see. Be careful if you're driving in heavy rain — the painted lines can be obscure.

Obscure comes from Latin obscurus, which can mean "dark, dim," "unclear, hard to understand," or "insignificant, humble." We tend to use obscure in the metaphorical senses: an obscure sound is unclear, an obscure village is hidden away in the countryside, and an obscure poet is little known and probably insignificant. Obscure can also be used as a verb. If you get really nervous when you speak during a debate, your embarrassing twitches and shaking hands can obscure your argument.

Primary Meanings of obscure

1.
adjv
not clearly understood or expressed
make unclear, indistinct, or blurred
2.
adj
difficult to find
3.
v
reduce a vowel to a neutral one, such as a schwa
Full Definitions of obscure
1

adj not clearly understood or expressed

“an obscure turn of phrase”
“"an impulse to go off and fight certain obscure battles of his own spirit"-Anatole Broyard”
Synonyms:
vague
unclear
not clear to the mind

adj marked by difficulty of style or expression

“those who do not appreciate Kafka's work say his style is obscure
Synonyms:
dark
incomprehensible, uncomprehensible
difficult to understand

adj not drawing attention

“an obscure flaw”
Synonyms:
unnoticeable
inconspicuous, invisible
not prominent or readily noticeable

adj not famous or acclaimed

“an obscure family”
Synonyms:
unknown, unsung
inglorious
not bringing honor and glory

v make unclear, indistinct, or blurred

Synonyms:
blur, confuse, obnubilate
confound, confuse
mistake one thing for another
Types:
muddy
cause to become muddy
Type of:
alter, change, modify
cause to change; make different; cause a transformation

v make less visible or unclear

“the big elm tree obscures our view of the valley”
Synonyms:
becloud, befog, cloud, fog, haze over, mist, obnubilate
Types:
overshadow
cast a shadow upon
eclipse, occult
cause an eclipse of (a celestial body) by intervention
Type of:
conceal, hide
prevent from being seen or discovered

v make obscure or unclear

“The distinction was obscured
Synonyms:
bedim, overcloud
Type of:
alter, change, modify
cause to change; make different; cause a transformation

v make undecipherable or imperceptible by obscuring or concealing

Synonyms:
blot out, hide, obliterate, veil
efface, obliterate
remove completely from recognition or memory
Types:
mystify
make mysterious
Type of:
alter, change, modify
cause to change; make different; cause a transformation
2

adj difficult to find

“an obscure retreat”
Synonyms:
hidden
concealed
hidden on any grounds for any motive

adj remote and separate physically or socially

“an obscure village”
Synonyms:
apart, isolated
unconnected
not joined or linked together
3

v reduce a vowel to a neutral one, such as a schwa

Type of:
reduce
destress and thus weaken a sound when pronouncing it

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