ob·​scu·​ri·​ty | \ äb-ˈskyu̇r-ə-tē How to pronounce obscurity (audio) , əb-\
plural obscurities

Definition of obscurity

1 : one that is obscure … peppered with quotes from … heavy hitters, as well as some downright obscurities.— Penelope Green
2 : the quality or state of being obscure novels that have faded into obscurity

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Examples of obscurity in a Sentence

In recent years, the tradition has emerged from obscurity. He has been living in relative obscurity in a small town in the mountains. After a promising first novel, she faded into obscurity.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The song had been uploaded to YouTube in 2010, around the time the single was reissued by a Japanese record label specializing in Jamaican obscurities. Hua Hsu, The New Yorker, "Stephen Cheng Released One Single That Sounded Like Nothing Else. But Who Was He?," 24 Aug. 2019 The young Frenchman is a star in the making having been plucked from Ligue 2 obscurity. SI.com, "Arsenal: The XI That Should Start Against Liverpool," 22 Aug. 2019 An ‘incarnation theme’ Presley sought spiritual explanations for why he of all people was plucked from the obscurity of Tupelo to become a celebrity. al, "The cult of Elvis lives on: Presley died 42 years ago," 16 Aug. 2019 But in recent years, as historians, activists and scholars brought her story to light and a new generation embraced her, that obscurity has lifted. Chicago Tribune Staff, chicagotribune.com, "Daywatch: Ex-top cop Garry McCarthy defends background checks, one of the largest Chicago office leases in recent years and other things to know to start your day," 20 Aug. 2019 Josh Jacobs emerged from recruiting obscurity into a first-round pick and Damien Harris was picked in the third round. Michael Casagrande | Mcasagrande@al.com, al, "How ex-No. 1 RB Najee Harris found patience at Alabama," 15 Aug. 2019 For a school that has spent most of the last decade in relative basketball obscurity, the significance of such a high-profile commitment can’t be overstated. Ryan Kartje, Los Angeles Times, "Evan Mobley, the nation’s top basketball prospect, commits to USC," 5 Aug. 2019 The masterful tactician took Die Borussen from mid-table obscurity to Bundesliga and European champions, before repeating the feat with Die Roten to firmly cement his place as German footballing royalty. SI.com, "Ottmar Hitzfeld: Der General Who Dominated Germany's All-Time Best XI," 24 July 2019 But a ten-year-old story leaked out from his past And yanked him from placid obscurity. John Lithgow, The New Yorker, "Acosta Agonistes," 11 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'obscurity.' 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 obscurity

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for obscurity

Last Updated

7 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for obscurity

The first known use of obscurity was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for obscurity



English Language Learners Definition of obscurity

: the state of being unknown or forgotten
: something that is difficult to understand
: the quality of being difficult to understand


ob·​scu·​ri·​ty | \ äb-ˈskyu̇r-ə-tē How to pronounce obscurity (audio) , əb-\
plural obscurities

Kids Definition of obscurity

1 : the state of being difficult to see or understand
2 : the state of being unknown or forgotten He lived in obscurity.
3 : something that is difficult to understand The poems are filled with obscurities.

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Comments on obscurity

What made you want to look up obscurity? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


recurring in steady succession

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