Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of obscure
Meaning of obscure by Wiktionary Dictionary



    From French obscur, from Latin obscūrus ( “dark, dusky, indistinct” ), possibly, from ob ( “over” ) + -scurus ( “covered” ), from root scu ( “cover” ), seen also in scutum ( “a shield” ); see scutum, sky .


    • IPA: /əbˈskjʊɚ/, X-SAMPA: /@b"skjU@/


    obscure ( comparative more obscure, superlative most obscure )

    1. Dark, faint or indistinct.
    2. Hidden, out of sight or inconspicuous .
    3. Difficult to understand .


    Related terms


    obscure ( third-person singular simple present obscures present participle obscuring, simple past and past participle obscured )

    1. ( transitive ) To darken, make faint etc .
    2. ( transitive ) To hide, put out of sight etc.

    External links

    • obscure in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
    • obscure in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911

Explanation of obscure by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. make obscure or unclear

    2. The distinction was obscured
    3. make undecipherable or imperceptible by obscuring or concealing

    4. reduce a vowel to a neutral one, such as a schwa

    5. make unclear, indistinct, or blurred

    6. make less visible or unclear

    7. The stars are obscured by the clouds
      the big elm tree obscures our view of the valley
    1. not clearly understood or expressed

    2. an obscure turn of phrase
      an impulse to go off and fight certain obscure battles of his own spirit-Anatole Broyard
    3. marked by difficulty of style or expression

    4. those who do not appreciate Kafka's work say his style is obscure
    5. remote and separate physically or socially

    6. an obscure village
    7. not drawing attention

    8. an obscure flaw
    9. not famous or acclaimed

    10. an obscure family
    11. difficult to find

    12. an obscure retreat

    Definition of obscure by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. Obscure ( ŏbskūr ), a. [Compar. Obscurer ( ŏbskūrẽr ); superl. Obscurest.] [L. obscurus, orig., covered; ob- ( see Ob- ) + a root probably meaning, to cover; cf. L. scutum shield, Skr. sku to cover: cf. F. obscur. Cf. Sky.]

      1. Covered over, shaded, or darkened; destitute of light; imperfectly illuminated; dusky; dim.

      His lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness. Prov. xx. 20.

      2. Of or pertaining to darkness or night; inconspicuous to the sight; indistinctly seen; hidden; retired; remote from observation; unnoticed.

      The obscure bird

      Clamored the livelong night. Shak.

      The obscure corners of the earth. Sir J. Davies.

      3. Not noticeable; humble; mean. “O base and obscure vulgar.” Shak. “An obscure person.” Atterbury.

      4. Not easily understood; not clear or legible; abstruse or incomprehensible; as, “an obscure passage or inscription”.

      5. Not clear, full, or distinct; clouded; imperfect; as, “an obscure view of remote objects”.

      Obscure rays ( Opt. ), those rays which are not luminous or visible, and which in the spectrum are beyond the limits of the visible portion.

      Syn. -- Dark; dim; darksome; dusky; shadowy; misty; abstruse; intricate; difficult; mysterious; retired; unnoticed; unknown; humble; mean; indistinct.

    2. Obscure, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Obscured ( ŏbskūrd ); p. pr. & vb. n. Obscuring.] [L. obscurare, fr. obscurus: cf. OF. obscurer. See Obscure, a.] To render obscure; to darken; to make dim; to keep in the dark; to hide; to make less visible, intelligible, legible, glorious, beautiful, or illustrious.

      They are all couched in a pit hard by Herne's oak, with obscured lights. Shak.

      Why, 't is an office of discovery, love,

      And I should be obscured. Shak.

      There is scarce any duty which has been so obscured by the writings of learned men as this. Wake.

      And seest not sin obscures thy godlike frame? Dryden.

    3. Obscure ( ŏbskūr ), v. i. To conceal one's self; to hide; to keep dark. [Obs.]

      How! There's bad news.

      I must obscure, and hear it. Beau. & Fl.

    4. Obscure, n. Obscurity. [Obs.] Milton.