ob·​scu·​ri·​ty | \ äb-ˈskyu̇r-ə-tē, 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

Some of them remain very famous, if reclusive; some of them have updated to Twitter and Instagram; and some of them have blissfully slunk away into relative obscurity. Vogue, "Where Your Favorite Millennial Halloween Movie Stars Are Now," 23 Oct. 2018 Yet part of Af Klint’s obscurity has to do with the artist herself. Lance Esplund, WSJ, "‘Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future’ Review: Modernism’s Missing Link?," 13 Oct. 2018 After the divorce, all mention of Lyudmila was erased from the news feed of the Kremlin website, and she was relegated to utter obscurity. Owen Matthews, Newsweek, "The Top Secret Family Life of Vladimir Putin," 19 Aug. 2014 Penny Hart, Georgia State Few know about Hart, who plays in relative obscurity for Georgia State in the Sun Belt Conference, but his numbers are can’t be ignored. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "College football's best wide receivers for 2018," 10 July 2018 For whatever reason, despite ruling Italy for centuries, the Longobards seem to have faded into genetic obscurity. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Using Medieval DNA to track the barbarian spread into Italy," 14 Sep. 2018 Born Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy, XXXTentacion rose from obscurity and poverty as a young Soundcloud rapper, becoming a commercial success with his 2017 debut album 17 and gaining a following on YouTube. Joshua Rivera, GQ, "XXXTentacion Reportedly Killed by Unknown Shooter," 18 June 2018 Some, like Rick Scott, can overcome obscurity by flooding political committees with cash and saturating the airwaves with ads. Emily L. Mahoney And Mary Ellen Klas, miamiherald, "Why Richard Corcoran failed in his bid to become Florida governor | Miami Herald," 10 May 2018 And considering the obscurity of the seat, both candidates are spending heavily: Leone -- $42,505.69 over 6 1/2 months, from Aug. 1 through Feb. 12 Rizzuto -- $65,188 over 9 1/2 months, May 2 through Feb. 12. . Drew Broach, NOLA.com, "This obscure political job pays $120,000, and one third of voters don't know whom to back," 14 Mar. 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

12 Jan 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, 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).


someone who never drinks alcohol

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