adjective, ob·scur·er, ob·scur·est.
- (of meaning) not clear or plain; ambiguous, vague, or uncertain: an obscure sentence in the contract.
- not clear to the understanding; hard to perceive: obscure motivations.
- (of language, style, a speaker, etc.) not expressing the meaning clearly or plainly.
- indistinct to the sight or any other sense; not readily seen, heard, etc.; faint.
- inconspicuous or unnoticeable: the obscure beginnings of a great movement.
- of little or no prominence, note, fame, or distinction: an obscure French artist.
- far from public notice, worldly affairs, or important activities; remote; retired: an obscure little town.
- lacking in light or illumination; dark; dim; murky: an obscure back room.
- enveloped in, concealed by, or frequenting darkness.
- not bright or lustrous; dull or darkish, as color or appearance.
- (of a vowel) having the reduced or neutral sound usually represented by the schwa (ə).
verb (used with object), ob·scured, ob·scur·ing.
- to conceal or conceal by confusing (the meaning of a statement, poem, etc.).
- to make dark, dim, indistinct, etc.
- to reduce or neutralize (a vowel) to the sound usually represented by a schwa (ə).
- unclear or abstruse
- indistinct, vague, or indefinite
- inconspicuous or unimportant
- hidden, secret, or remote
- (of a vowel) reduced to or transformed into a neutral vowel (ə)
- gloomy, dark, clouded, or dim
- to make unclear, vague, or hidden
- to cover or cloud over
- phonetics to pronounce (a vowel) with articulation that causes it to become a neutral sound represented by (ə)
- a rare word for obscurity
adj.c.1400, “dark,” figuratively “morally unenlightened; gloomy,” from Old French obscur, oscur “dark, clouded, gloomy; dim, not clear” (12c.) and directly from Latin obscurus “dark, dusky, shady,” figuratively “unknown; unintelligible; hard to discern; from insignificant ancestors,” from ob “over” (see ob-) + -scurus “covered,” from PIE *(s)keu- “to cover, conceal” (see sky). Related: Obscurely. v.early 15c., “to cover (something), cloud over,” from obscure (adj.) or else from Middle French obscurer, from Latin obscurare “to make dark, darken, obscure,” from obscurus. Related: Obscured; obscuring.