obfuscate

verb
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 obfuscation (audio) \ noun
obfuscatory \ äb-​ˈfə-​skə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce obfuscatory (audio) , əb-​ \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for obfuscate

Synonyms

becloud, befog, blur, cloud, confuse, fog, muddy

Antonyms

clarify, clear (up), illuminate

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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 law also obfuscates the true cost of implementation. The Denver Post Editorial Board, The Denver Post, "Editorial: Yes, adopt those California zero-emission vehicle standards (imperfections and all)," 2 Aug. 2019 In the telling, the authors illustrate how technical details can enhance delight, rather than obfuscating or deadening it. Alyssa Rosenberg, Washington Post, "The poetry, prose and physics of baseball," 25 July 2019 All used base64 encoding and data compression that obfuscated the data being uploaded. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "More on DataSpii: How extensions hide their data grabs—and how they’re discovered," 18 July 2019 Despite Alphabet’s attempts to obfuscate, the market is catching on, as markets tend to do. Adam Seessel, Fortune, "Valuation: I’m a Google Shareholder. Here’s Why I Think More Regulation Would Be Good for Google," 26 July 2019 Which is why a Virtual Private Network (VPN), a service that obfuscates your online activity, can sound so appealing. Patrick Lucas Austin, Time, "Should You Use a VPN for Internet Privacy? That Depends, Experts Say," 26 July 2019 Prosecutors say the business served as a middleman to obfuscate Turkey’s involvement. Washington Post, "Trial of ex-Flynn business partner allowed to go forward," 18 July 2019 In Sugar Land, the political will to obfuscate history seemed too strong. Siddhartha Mahanta, The New York Review of Books, "One Man’s Quest for a Memorial to Sugar Land’s Bitter History," 4 June 2019 Yet no one has figured out how to efficiently obfuscate even the small bootstrapping program. Quanta Magazine, "A New Design for Cryptography’s Black Box," 2 Sep. 2015

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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Statistics for obfuscate

Last Updated

15 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for obfuscate

The first known use of obfuscate was in 1536

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More Definitions for obfuscate

obfuscate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of obfuscate

formal : to make (something) more difficult to understand

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More from Merriam-Webster on obfuscate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with obfuscate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for obfuscate

Spanish Central: Translation of obfuscate

Nglish: Translation of obfuscate for Spanish Speakers

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