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

Edward II enjoyed some brief popularity for a few decades, before eventually fading into relative obscurity—only to reemerge with a glorious vengeance in the modern era. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Beyond The Favourite: The Royal Family's Very Queer History," 22 Feb. 2019 Wars in Syria, Yemen and Libya, an insurgency in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, the ever-present threat of a resurgent ISIS, economic woes and political instability have all pushed the once hallowed Palestinian cause into near obscurity. Ben Wedeman, CNN, "The dream of 'peace in our time' in the Middle East died on Monday," 14 May 2018 The email never explicitly states this, but Molina’s rhetoric insinuates, with careful obscurity, that this is indeed the case. Rachel Vorona Cote, The New Republic, "Volunteers of the Ivory Tower," 1 May 2018 Maybe Subnautica was an unexpected, under-the-radar fluke that got to me via its obscurity. Steven Strom, Ars Technica, "One main mystery makes survival in Subnautica worthwhile," 27 Feb. 2018 Zavaglia toiled largely in obscurity until 2008, when her dealer, the New York gallery Lyons Wier, took a handful of her embroidered portraits to the PULSE art fair. Elle Decor Staff, ELLE Decor, "Art Show: Cayce Zavaglia," 14 May 2012 Its relative obscurity — at least among New England families planning their April vacations — means few crowds and lower prices. Jenna Russell, BostonGlobe.com, "There is magic in those Jekyll Island oaks," 21 June 2018 Their relative obscurity, however, hasn't kept them from becoming some of Wall Street's highest-flying stocks this year. Adam Shell, USA TODAY, "Best small cap stocks 2018: 10 stocks you've never heard of that are surging this year," 12 June 2018 His findings undermine a popular art-world notion that a prodigy could create in obscurity and get discovered years later. Kelly Crow, WSJ, "The Surprising Formula for Becoming an Art Star," 8 Nov. 2018

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

20 Apr 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).


an act or instance of returning to life

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