Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

opaque

play
adjective \ō-ˈpāk\

Simple Definition of opaque

  • : not letting light through : not transparent

  • : difficult to understand or explain

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of opaque

  1. 1 :  blocking the passage of radiant energy and especially light :  exhibiting opacity (see opacity)

  2. 2 a :  hard to understand or explain <opaque prose> b :  obtuse, thickheaded

opaque

noun

opaquely

adverb

opaqueness

noun

Examples of opaque in a sentence

  1. In the opening hour, a group of strangers receive a maddeningly opaque cell-phone summons to join a secret cross-country race with a $32 million prize. The thing is, the summons can also be a threat (one competitor's wife is possibly being help captive), and the consequences of falling behind are murderous. —Tom Gliatto, People, 23 Apr. 2007

  2. The reality facing Rory Stewart was that he was sent into a collapsed rural region in a country of which he knew almost nothing, and in which he had to find his way through a maze of opaque tribal and religious relationships. —Robert Skidelsky, New York Review of Books, 5 Oct. 2006

  3. Arborio rice, the kind that grows in the Po Valley and gave rise to the wonderful dish risotto, has a tiny opaque white pearl on the inside that remains al dente, and starch on the outside that the grains release during cooking, making a creamy sauce. —Corby Kummer, Atlantic, March 1993

  4. the opaque water of the muddy river

  5. <somehow listeners seem to connect with the songwriter, despite his deeply personal, often opaque lyrics>



Origin and Etymology of opaque

Latin opacus (see opacity)


First Known Use: 1641


OPAQUE Defined for Kids

opaque

play
adjective \ō-ˈpāk\

Definition of opaque for Students

  1. 1 :  not letting light through :  not transparent

  2. 2 :  not reflecting light :  dull <an opaque paint>




Medical Dictionary

opaque

play
adjective \ō-ˈpāk\

Medical Definition of opaque

  1. :  exhibiting opacity :  not pervious to radiant energy

opaqueness

noun




Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up opaque? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a jerking and twitching of the body

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

two-chairs-on-a-pier-by-the-ocean-in-summer

Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?

brumal hiemal vernal estival
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ