ob·​fus·​cate | \ ˈäb-fə-ˌskāt How to pronounce obfuscate (audio) ; äb-ˈfə-ˌskāt, əb- \
obfuscated; obfuscating

Definition of obfuscate

transitive verb

1a : to throw into shadow : darken
b : to make obscure obfuscate the issue officials who … continue to obscure and obfuscate what happened— Mary Carroll
2 : confuse obfuscate the reader

intransitive verb

: to be evasive, unclear, or confusing The suspect often obfuscated during the interrogation.

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Other Words from obfuscate

obfuscation \ ˌäb-​(ˌ)fə-​ˈskā-​shən How to pronounce obfuscate (audio) \ noun
obfuscatory \ äb-​ˈfə-​skə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce obfuscate (audio) , əb-​ \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for obfuscate



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Try to Understand the Roots of Obfuscate

To obfuscate something means to make it so that it isn't clear or transparent, much like dirty water makes it hard to see to the bottom of a pond. The verb shares its ob- root (meaning "over, completely") with obscure, another word that can refer to the act of concealing something or making it more difficult to see or understand. The rest of obfuscate comes from Latin fuscus, which means "dark brown" and is distantly related to our word dusk.

Examples of obfuscate in a Sentence

Politicians keep obfuscating the issues. Their explanations only serve to obfuscate and confuse.
Recent Examples on the Web The browser company Brave allows users to block trackers, and ad-blocking add-ons from companies like Ghostery and AdBlock let users obfuscate their web browsing traffic from advertisers to a certain extent. Patrick Lucas Austin, Time, 7 June 2021 Documents have gone missing, and media and official accounts obfuscate. Washington Post, 28 May 2021 Words continued to come out of Lue’s mouth, but most of them were designed to obfuscate. Dylan Hernández Columnist, Los Angeles Times, 28 Apr. 2021 If the presidential election last November had been an extremely tight one—offering Trump better opportunities to obfuscate the results, and his followers more time to get organized—the D.C. version of this Plan B might well have won the day. Win Mccormack, The New Republic, 18 Mar. 2021 If many Alices sell tokenized, pirated copies of the Zapruder film to many Bobs, this bombs the blockchain with many transactions that obfuscate the fact that these might be pirated versions. Rick Prelinger, Wired, 20 Apr. 2021 The complaint details the lengths Ulbricht took to obfuscate the transfer of the funds and the forensic expertise that finally unraveled the true origins of the bitcoin. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 5 Nov. 2020 The Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation arm assisted in tracking down the intricate scheme to obfuscate the recipients of the proceeds. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 5 Nov. 2020 Tycoons also use them to obfuscate their business practices. Joshua Berlinger, CNN, 10 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'obfuscate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of obfuscate

1536, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for obfuscate

borrowed from Late Latin obfuscātus, offuscātus, past participle of obfuscāre, offuscāre "to obscure, darken, depreciate," from Latin ob-, perfective prefix + -fuscāre, verbal derivative of fuscus "dark-colored, somber, dark-skinned or -complected" — more at ob-, dusk entry 1

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Time Traveler for obfuscate

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The first known use of obfuscate was in 1536

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Last Updated

16 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Obfuscate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obfuscate. Accessed 20 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for obfuscate



English Language Learners Definition of obfuscate

formal : to make (something) more difficult to understand

More from Merriam-Webster on obfuscate

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Nglish: Translation of obfuscate for Spanish Speakers


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