\ō-ˈblēk, ə-, -ˈblīk; military usually -ˈblīk \

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, 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, ə-, -ˈblīk; military usually -ˈblīk\

Definition of oblique (Entry 3 of 3)

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

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Other Words from oblique


obliquely adverb
obliqueness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for oblique

Synonyms: Adjective

askew, aslant, atilt, awry, cockeyed, crazy, crooked, listing, lopsided, off-kilter, pitched, skewed, slanted, slanting, slantwise, tilted, tipping, uneven

Antonyms: Adjective

even, level, straight

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Examples of oblique in a Sentence


Harden …  , who missed a month with a strained left oblique muscle, has become one of the game's most intimidating starters in just his second full big league season. — Albert Chen, Sports Illustrated, 8 Aug. 2005 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


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

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Buchholz suffered a strained oblique in a June 24 start in Pittsburgh and threw his first bullpen session on Saturday at Chase Field. Richard Morin, azcentral, "Diamondbacks right-hander Clay Buchholz progressing toward return," 8 July 2018 Outfielder Christian Yelich hit that list for 12 days with a strained oblique. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Haudricourt: Brewers' depth has been huge in overcoming series of injuries this season," 6 July 2018 Graves set to debut The Marlins finally are on the verge of getting a regular-season look at right-hander Brett Graves, a Rule 5 pick from Oakland who strained an oblique muscle early in spring training. Craig Davis, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Kyle Barraclough quietly makes mark as Marlins closer with scoreless inning streak," 14 June 2018 Robbie Ray is out for at least a month with a strained oblique muscle. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, "Is Diamondbacks-Astros a World Series preview? The D'backs aren't afraid to dream," 4 May 2018 Left-hander Wade Miley came off a two-month stay on the disabled list with an oblique strain to pitch in the majors for the first time since May 8, and his main issue was walking batters and pitching to No. 8 hitter Jordy Mercer. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Pirates 6, Brewers 3: A long stretch of games and an early-morning arrival lead to a rough loss," 12 July 2018 The outing provided a bit of relief for the Royals, who just placed starting pitcher Ian Kennedy back on the disabled list because of a left oblique strain. Maria Torres, kansascity, "The Royals’ rotation is falling apart. They may have found hope in another Rule 5 get," 11 July 2018 The Dodgers recalled Toles after putting Yasiel Puig on the disabled list because of an oblique strain. Andy Mccullough, latimes.com, "Dodgers put Yasiel Puig on the disabled list, call up Andrew Toles," 10 July 2018 Relief pitcher Anthony Swarzak, 32, missed two months with an oblique strain and entered the day with a 6.46 earned run average. James Wagner, New York Times, "Todd Frazier Heads for Second Stint on the Disabled List," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Because the obliques come into play to some extent in almost everything a person does, even breathing, injuries tend to linger. Dave Kallmann, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "What's an oblique? Explaining the pesky strain that's keeping baseball players down," 23 Apr. 2018 Kennedy on the shelf: Right-hander Ian Kennedy, who was scheduled to start Wednesday's series finale against Cleveland, was placed on the 10-day disabled list because of a strained left oblique. Pete Grathoff, kansascity, "Danny Duffy serves up slam as Royals fall to Indians, lose 60th game of season," 3 July 2018 The job of the external obliques here is to hold your lower spine in place. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "Strengthen Your Core and Shoulders With Adriana Lima's Challenging Battle Rope Plank," 13 June 2018 In addition to sculpting your butt, this move challenges your obliques and transverse abdominis, aka your waist-cinching muscles. NBC News, "5 simple exercises for stronger, tighter glutes," 2 May 2018 After a lot of healing, I was left with a three-finger diastasis recti and healing separations along my obliques. Melissa Dahl, The Cut, "100 Women on the Wildest Ways Their Bodies Changed After Pregnancy," 30 May 2018 In addition to the triceps work, the list of muscles working here includes rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis and internal and external obliques. Leah Prinzivalli, SELF, "This Triceps Move From Chelsea Handler's Trainer Doubles as a Killer Core Exercise," 2 May 2018 This move targets your quads, glutes, obliques and arms at once. NBC News, "Got 30 minutes? Try these 5 total-body compound exercises," 4 Apr. 2018 The combination move works the abs, obliques, arms, and upper body. Leah Prinzivalli, SELF, "The Bodyweight Core Move Jennifer Lopez's Trainer David Kirsch Does With His Celebrity Clients," 15 Mar. 2018

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.

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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 oblike, from Latin obliquus


see oblique entry 1


see oblique entry 1

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Statistics for oblique

Last Updated

26 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for oblique

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

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More Definitions for oblique



English Language Learners Definition of oblique

: not direct : not stated directly

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


\ō-ˈblēk, ə-\

Kids Definition of oblique

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

Other Words from oblique

obliquely adverb


\ō-ˈblēk, ə-, -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

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