\ ō-ˈblēk How to pronounce oblique (audio) , ə-, -ˈblīk; military usually -ˈblīk How to pronounce oblique (audio) \

Definition of oblique

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : neither perpendicular nor parallel : inclined oblique lines
b : having the axis not perpendicular to the base an oblique cone
c : having no right angle an oblique triangle
2a : not straightforward : indirect In her speech she made only oblique references to the scandal. also : obscure … much of what there is to see is nuanced and oblique—a shadow of a shadow of a shadow. New Yorker
b : devious, underhanded … the open, above-board fury of his mind coagulated, thickened, and sunk to a dull, evil hatred, a wicked, oblique malevolence.— Frank Norris
3 : situated at an angle and having one end not inserted on bone oblique muscles
4 : taken from an airplane with the camera directed horizontally or diagonally downward an oblique photograph


\ ō-ˈblēk How to pronounce oblique (audio) , ə-, -ˈblīk; military usually -ˈblīk \

Definition of oblique (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : something (such as a line) that is oblique
2 or oblique muscle : any of several oblique muscles especially : any of the thin flat muscles forming the middle and outer layers of the lateral walls of the abdomen


\ ō-ˈblēk How to pronounce oblique (audio) , ə-, -ˈblīk; military usually -ˈblīk \

Definition of oblique (Entry 3 of 3)

: at a 45 degree angle To the right oblique, march!

Other Words from oblique


obliquely adverb
obliqueness noun

Examples of oblique in a Sentence

Adjective They were painted in oil paints on old-fashioned canvas. But the manner of their portrayal was oblique and enigmatic, with an element of hide-and-seek in which hiding most often won out over seeking. — John Russell, New York Times Magazine, 11 Nov. 1990 The driveway met the street at an oblique angle, and a jutting corner of the customer's cinderblock building, a large power pole, and a berm of trash (pallets, pails, chunks of wood) made it a dogleg affair. — Bryan Di Salvatore, New Yorker, 12 Sept. 1988 The short lines of the letter “k” are oblique lines. gave the eavesdropper an oblique glance out of the corner of her eye Noun We each received a list of every muscle group (back, inner thighs, outer thighs, quads, biceps, obliques, upper abs, etc.), with detailed comments on which ones we needed to change. — anonymous, Cosmopolitan, November 2007 He hammered on my back with both fists, but I had a lot of muscle layer to protect back there. Twenty years of working on the lats and the lateral obliques. I got hold of his shirtfront with both hands and pulled him away from the wall and slammed him back up against it. — Robert B. Parker, Mortal Stakes, 1975 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Then, on Friday afternoon, the Diamondbacks activated third baseman Josh Rojas, who has missed the season’s first 26 games with an oblique strain. Theo Mackie, The Arizona Republic, 6 May 2022 Luplow, who the Diamondbacks traded for in the offseason, suffered an oblique strain late in spring training and has yet to make his season debut. Theo Mackie, The Arizona Republic, 25 Apr. 2022 Harrison has split time at second and third as starting third baseman Yoán Moncada continues to recover from a right oblique strain suffered in the final week of spring training. Lamond Pope, chicagotribune.com, 17 Apr. 2022 Zack Wheeler’s arm falls off and Bryce Harper misses two months with an oblique strain. Daniel Kohn, SPIN, 6 Apr. 2022 After Tampa Bay starter Luis Patino exited in the first inning with an oblique injury, the A’s turned their series opener into a rout. Matt Kawahara, San Francisco Chronicle, 11 Apr. 2022 Marte has been slowed by an oblique injury lately and has not been cleared to swing in the batting cage. New York Times, 16 Mar. 2022 Limited in camp due to a left oblique strain, newcomer Starling Marte made his spring debut in right field and went 1 for 2. Bill Whitehead, courant.com, 27 Mar. 2022 Consider that Lindor was out of the Mets lineup from July 17 until August 24, as he was sidelined with a Grade 2 oblique strain. Bernie Pleskoff, Forbes, 17 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Given that high barrier to good oblique training, this move is overrated—and even worse, a potential injury waiting to happen. Jeff Tomko, Men's Health, 25 Apr. 2022 Third baseman Josh Rojas has a strained right oblique and will not be ready for Opening Day, the third Diamondbacks position player expected to play a significant role to go down with an injury this spring. Nick Piecoro, The Arizona Republic, 3 Apr. 2022 Luplow, whom the Diamondbacks acquired in November to add some right-handed balance to their outfield mix, has a Grade 1 strain — the least severe — of his right oblique. Nick Piecoro, The Arizona Republic, 30 Mar. 2022 Starling Marte spent the first week of spring training nursing a sore left oblique. Deesha Thosar, courant.com, 20 Mar. 2022 This particular workout includes Russian deadlifts, static oblique holds, side raises, and alternating iso dumbbell curls. Philip Ellis, Men's Health, 19 Mar. 2022 Your shoulders will naturally tip toward the side holding more weight; offset this by squeezing your oblique and shoulder blade on the opposite side. Michael Easter, Men's Health, 1 Mar. 2022 The suspect pulled the trigger shooting him in the hand, right oblique and left hip. Teresa Moss, Arkansas Online, 15 Feb. 2022 Lions coach Dan Campbell said Tuesday that Jared Goff is recovering well from the strained oblique that kept him out of last week's loss to the Cleveland Browns and likely will play on Thanksgiving. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, 23 Nov. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of oblique


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


circa 1608, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1687, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for oblique


Middle English oblique, oblike, borrowed from Anglo-French oblic, oblique, borrowed from Latin oblīquus "slanting, transverse," from ob- "against, facing" + -līquus, of uncertain meaning and origin — more at ob-


derivative of oblique entry 1


derivative of oblique entry 1

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Time Traveler for oblique

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The first known use of oblique was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near oblique



oblique angle

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Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Oblique.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oblique. Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for oblique


\ ō-ˈblēk How to pronounce oblique (audio) , ə- \

Kids Definition of oblique

: having a slanting position or direction : neither perpendicular nor parallel

Other Words from oblique

obliquely adverb


\ ō-ˈblēk How to pronounce oblique (audio) , ə- How to pronounce oblique (audio) , -ˈblīk \

Medical Definition of oblique

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : neither perpendicular nor parallel : being on an incline
2 : situated obliquely and having one end not inserted on bone oblique muscles

Other Words from oblique

obliquely adverb


variants: or oblique muscle

Medical Definition of oblique (Entry 2 of 2)

: any of several oblique muscles: as
a : either of two flat muscles on each side that form the middle and outer layers of the lateral walls of the abdomen, that have aponeuroses extending medially to ensheathe the rectus muscles and fusing in the midventral line in the linea alba, and that act to compress the abdominal contents and to assist in expelling the contents of various visceral organs (as in urination, defecation, parturition, and expiration):
(1) : one that forms the outer layer of the lateral abdominal wall

called also external oblique, obliquus externus, obliquus externus abdominis

(2) : one situated under the external oblique in the lateral and ventral part of the abdominal wall

called also internal oblique, obliquus internus, obliquus internus abdominis

b(1) : a long thin extraocular muscle that arises just above the margin of the optic foramen, is inserted on the upper part of the eyeball, and moves the eye downward and laterally

called also superior oblique, obliquus superior oculi

(2) : a short extraocular muscle that arises from the orbital surface of the maxilla, is inserted slightly in front of and below the superior oblique, and moves the eye upward and laterally

called also inferior oblique, obliquus inferior oculi

c(1) : a muscle that arises from the superior surface of the transverse process of the atlas, passes medially upward to insert into the occipital bone, and functions to extend the head and bend it to the side

called also obliquus capitis superior, obliquus superior

(2) : a muscle that arises from the apex of the spinous process of the axis, inserts into the transverse process of the atlas, and rotates the atlas turning the face in the same direction

called also obliquus capitis inferior, obliquus inferior

More from Merriam-Webster on oblique

Nglish: Translation of oblique for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of oblique for Arabic Speakers


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