adjective \ˈvāg\

: not clear in meaning : stated in a way that is general and not specific

: not thinking or expressing your thoughts clearly or precisely

: not completely formed or developed


Full Definition of VAGUE

a :  not clearly expressed :  stated in indefinite terms <vague accusations>
b :  not having a precise meaning <a vague term of abuse>
a :  not clearly defined, grasped, or understood :  indistinct <only a vague notion of what's needed>; also :  slight <a vague hint of a thickening waistline> <hasn't the vaguest idea>
b :  not clearly felt or sensed :  somewhat subconscious <a vague longing>
:  not thinking or expressing one's thoughts clearly or precisely <vague about dates and places>
:  lacking expression :  vacant <vague eyes> <a vague stare>
:  not sharply outlined :  hazy <met by vague figures with shaded torchlights — Earle Birney>
vague·ly adverb
vague·ness noun

Examples of VAGUE

  1. The instructions she left were vague and difficult to follow.
  2. He gave only a vague answer.
  3. The judges determined that the law was too vague to be fairly enforced.
  4. She has been vague about her plans for college.
  5. We had only a vague idea of where we were.
  6. I think I have a vague understanding of how it works.
  7. He longed in some vague way for something different.
  8. She felt a vague sense of uneasiness when she was around him.
  9. I had the vague impression that they were withholding information.
  10. We could just barely make out the vague outline of a plane in the sky.
  11. When my three years of military service ended, I looked around for some way to get to spend time in rural Vietnam as a civilian. The driving force was still primarily intellectual curiosity, along with a desire to improve my language ability in a non-Western language and some vague idea of doing folkloristic or literary studies in the future. —Neil L. Jamieson, Understanding Vietnam, (1993) 1995

Origin of VAGUE

Middle French, from Latin vagus, literally, wandering
First Known Use: 1548

Synonym Discussion of VAGUE

obscure, dark, vague, enigmatic, cryptic, ambiguous, equivocal mean not clearly understandable. obscure implies a hiding or veiling of meaning through some inadequacy of expression or withholding of full knowledge <obscure poems>. dark implies an imperfect or clouded revelation often with ominous or sinister suggestion <muttered dark hints of revenge>. vague implies a lack of clear formulation due to inadequate conception or consideration <a vague sense of obligation>. enigmatic stresses a puzzling, mystifying quality <enigmatic occult writings>. cryptic implies a purposely concealed meaning <cryptic hints of hidden treasure>. ambiguous applies to language capable of more than one interpretation <an ambiguous directive>. equivocal applies to language left open to differing interpretations with the intention of deceiving or evading <moral precepts with equivocal phrasing>.

Rhymes with VAGUE

VAGUENESS Defined for Kids


adjective \ˈvāg\

Definition of VAGUE for Kids

:  not clearly expressed <a vague answer>
:  not clearly understood or sensed <They knew in a vague way what they wanted.>
:  not clearly outlined <At first Rosalind could see only vague shapes … — Jeanne Birdsall, The Penderwicks>
vague·ly adverb
vague·ness noun


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