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

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 course included some 30 essential drinks, classics such as the Old Fashioned and the Manhattan, and a drink or two that have mercifully fallen into obscurity, such as the Grasshopper. Eric Felten, WSJ, 17 Dec. 2021 An obscurity that, at times, was precipitated by men. Los Angeles Times, 22 Sep. 2021 Furthermore, both Google and Facebook modify their algorithms with near-absolute obscurity, leading to sudden jumps and drops in the traffic of publishers for reasons that many times their own employees cannot explain. Agustino Fontevecchia, Forbes, 25 Dec. 2021 And yes, an even better way to get noticed, after years of post-collegiate obscurity, by the NFL. Joe Leydon, Variety, 23 Dec. 2021 There were signs of this trend toward obscurity during the 2020 election cycle. Soo Rin Kim, ABC News, 7 Dec. 2021 Or will 2022 see Shiba Inu slip ever more into meme-coin obscurity? Rey Mashayekhi, Fortune, 29 Nov. 2021 Another to emerge from unfair obscurity was the Ballade in A Minor, by Coleridge-Taylor. Zachary Lewis, cleveland, 5 Nov. 2021 Neither Ablow nor Frawley have an explanation for Martineau’s relative obscurity; sometimes, writers simply disappear from the canon. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian Magazine, 4 Nov. 2021

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

History and Etymology for obscurity

Middle English obscurite, borrowed from Anglo-French oscurté, obscurité, borrowed from Latin obscūritāt-, obscūritās, from obscūrus "dim, dark, imperfectly known, concealed from knowledge, incomprehensible" + -itāt-, -itās -ity — more at obscure entry 1

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Time Traveler for obscurity

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

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Dictionary Entries Near obscurity



obscurum per obscurius

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Statistics for obscurity

Last Updated

16 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Obscurity.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obscurity. Accessed 28 Jan. 2022.

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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.

More from Merriam-Webster on obscurity

Nglish: Translation of obscurity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of obscurity for Arabic Speakers


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