One meaning of obscurity is nobody knowing who you are, and another definition is something that is hard to understand because it’s too complex or unclear.

Obscurity is the opposite of fame, and living in obscurity means that nobody knows your name. Many musicians played in obscurity for years before becoming rock stars. The Latin obscurus means “dark,” which is where obscurity is found: in the dark where no one sees it. Something difficult to comprehend has obscurity, for example the obscurity of a medical magazine, or a complex poem that is full of literary obscurities, referencing other poems that no one has read.

Definitions of obscurity

n the state of being indistinct or indefinite for lack of adequate illumination

Type of:
partial darkness

n the quality of being unclear or abstruse and hard to understand

abstruseness, obscureness, reconditeness
clarity, clearness, limpidity, lucidity, lucidness, pellucidity
free from obscurity and easy to understand; the comprehensibility of clear expression
Type of:
the quality of being incomprehensible

n an obscure and unimportant standing; not well known

“he worked in obscurity for many years”
the state of being prominent: widely known or eminent
show 4 types...
hide 4 types...
anonymity, namelessness
the state of being anonymous
humbleness, lowliness, obscureness, unimportance
the state of being humble and unimportant
an insignificant place
limbo, oblivion
the state of being disregarded or forgotten
Type of:
social or financial or professional status or reputation

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.