\ 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!

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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
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Taking place at a time when feminist concerns seemed more mainstream than ever and social progress (especially women's advancement) felt all but inevitable, Mrs. America is full of oblique but unmissable parallels to the current political moment. Inkoo Kang, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Mrs. America': TV Review," 2 Apr. 2020 Nirenberg said at Tuesday’s media briefing, an oblique reference to recent remarks Lt. Joshua Fechter, ExpressNews.com, "Nirenberg, Wolff name panel to get San Antonio back on its feet after COVID-19 devastation," 21 Apr. 2020 Separate government documents make oblique references to such data being used to track, among other things, tunnels along the border. Michelle Hackman, WSJ, "Federal Agencies Use Cellphone Location Data for Immigration Enforcement," 7 Feb. 2020 Other lawmakers have made oblique references to fears of violent reprisals from Trump supporters. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "The Empire Strikes Back," 7 Feb. 2020 This has not been the same Williams, however, in part because of injury (strained oblique). Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers 8, Pirates 3: Milwaukee finally pounds Williams behind two home runs by Keston Hiura," 7 Aug. 2019 Judge, who strained his left oblique in late April, will play in the outfield for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Sunday. ... Matt Carlson, courant.com, "Paxton effective as Yankees gain series split with rout of White Sox," 16 June 2019 Bain injury update: Austin Bain tweaked his oblique during the second half of the Arkansas game on Saturday. Brody Miller, NOLA.com, "LSU faces tough challenge on road for Oregon State regional," 28 May 2018 Kluber nearly made it back in time to help Cleveland’s playoff push but suffered an oblique injury that ended his comeback. Tom Withers, The Denver Post, "Indians close to trading ace Corey Kluber to Rangers, AP source says," 15 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Shoulder taps work you transverse abdominals and obliques as well. Stefani Sassos, Ms, Rdn, Cso, Good Housekeeping, "The Best At-Home Workouts to Help You Stay Healthy and Fit, According to Personal Trainers," 16 Mar. 2020 Your hamstrings, calves, hip stabilizers, and adductors (those muscles on your inner thigh) all get a little love, and your core works hard, too, particularly the obliques and deep lower back. Hayden Carpenter, Outside Online, "The 4 Most Common Mistakes Made While Lunging," 11 Feb. 2020 Today’s instructor focuses our workout on booties and obliques. refinery29.com, "I Live in San Francisco, Make $115K a Year, and Spent $575 On My Wellness Routine This Week," 17 Jan. 2020 Cube the ciabatta into 1-inch obliques, following the size of the cut tomatoes. CBS News, "Recipes from pasta master Evan Funke," 28 Sep. 2019 Criss Cross with Extended Legs The obliques are important muscles to develop to support you while running and walking long distances. Stephanie Mansour, NBC News, "Turkey trot: A one-month 5K training plan for beginners," 1 Nov. 2019 Van Der Beek’s deltoids and obliques are much more defined after the dance training, possibly from all the twists and lifts. Kelsey Hurwitz, Woman's Day, "'DWTS' Star James Van Der Beek Shows Off Transformed Body On Instagram," 2 Dec. 2019 That approach became more essential after budding ace Brandon Woodruff was lost for six weeks in late July with a strained left oblique, robbing Counsell of his most dependable innings-eater. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Craig Counsell got the most first-place votes but he's not the manager of the year," 12 Nov. 2019 From here lower your hips toward the floor and raise them back up, targeting your obliques. Hayden Carpenter, Outside Online, "The Ultimate Cross-Training Workout for Runners," 23 Sep. 2019

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 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

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

22 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Oblique.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oblique. Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for oblique


How to pronounce oblique (audio) How to pronounce oblique (audio)

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 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on oblique

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for oblique

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with oblique

Spanish Central: Translation of oblique

Nglish: Translation of oblique for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of oblique for Arabic Speakers

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