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.

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

Obfuscate comes from the Latin prefix ob- (meaning "over" or "completely") and fuscus ("dark-colored"). That fact gives an idea as to how the word can refer to making something difficult to see or understand—much like how dark, dirty water makes it hard to see the bottom.

Examples of obfuscate in a Sentence

Politicians keep obfuscating the issues. Their explanations only serve to obfuscate and confuse.
Recent Examples on the Web Often, these works try to obfuscate the mechanisms of power that drive them. Naomi Fry, The New Yorker, 8 Aug. 2022 To be candid, there are also a handful of vendors who intentionally obfuscate to mask deficiencies in their tech. Robert Lindner, Forbes, 4 Aug. 2022 Many free-to-play games obfuscate their gambling or monetization mechanics to hide that the game’s systems are designed to push player spending. Gene Park, Washington Post, 14 June 2022 Many major global companies have chosen to obfuscate and overstate the reality of their net zero promises, undercutting their credibility with both governments and environmentalists. Kathleen Rogers, CNN, 22 Apr. 2022 But with all respect to Steve Jobs, such myths can only further obfuscate the college finance discussion. Michael Horowitz, Forbes, 1 June 2022 Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness had a somewhat annoying marketing campaign where Marvel tried to obfuscate the truth as much as possible. Chris Smith, BGR, 24 May 2022 Overall, Minnesota boasts the highest percentage of students who meet the reading benchmark in the country and the third-highest for math — driven by the high marks of White students — which can obfuscate these racial disparities. Washington Post, 9 May 2022 Nonetheless, the bill was named the Affordable Care Act, and Barack Obama and his allies spent much of the debate trying to obfuscate the issue of premiums. Philip Klein, National Review, 25 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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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The first known use of obfuscate was in 1536

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Last Updated

15 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Obfuscate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obfuscate. Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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Nglish: Translation of obfuscate for Spanish Speakers


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