\ ō-ˈpāk How to pronounce opaque (audio) \

Definition of opaque

1 : blocking the passage of radiant energy and especially light : exhibiting opacity (see opacity sense 1)
2a : hard to understand or explain opaque prose

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Other Words from opaque

opaque noun
opaquely adverb
opaqueness noun

Examples of opaque in a Sentence

In the opening hour, a group of strangers receive a maddeningly opaque cell-phone summons to join a secret cross-country race with a $32 million prize. The thing is, the summons can also be a threat (one competitor's wife is possibly being help captive), and the consequences of falling behind are murderous. — Tom Gliatto, People, 23 Apr. 2007 The reality facing Rory Stewart was that he was sent into a collapsed rural region in a country of which he knew almost nothing, and in which he had to find his way through a maze of opaque tribal and religious relationships. — Robert Skidelsky, New York Review of Books, 5 Oct. 2006 Arborio rice, the kind that grows in the Po Valley and gave rise to the wonderful dish risotto, has a tiny opaque white pearl on the inside that remains al dente, and starch on the outside that the grains release during cooking, making a creamy sauce. — Corby Kummer, Atlantic, March 1993 the opaque water of the muddy river somehow listeners seem to connect with the songwriter, despite his deeply personal, often opaque lyrics
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Recent Examples on the Web By running an electrical current through the 0.35 mm glass, the Concept One cover can shift between opaque and transparent in just 0.7 seconds, letting the camera perform a disappearing act. Matthew De Silva, Quartz, "OnePlus’ new smartphone can make its camera “magically” disappear," 7 Jan. 2020 Critics worried Beijing could use the bill to prosecute people for political reasons under China's opaque legal system. Jessie Yeung, CNN, "From an extradition bill to a political crisis: A guide to the Hong Kong protests," 20 Dec. 2019 The right to kill an argali is controlled by an opaque permitting system that experts say is mostly based on money, connections and politics. ProPublica, "Donald Trump Jr. Went to Mongolia, Got Special Treatment From the Government and Killed an Endangered Sheep," 13 Dec. 2019 After protests broke out in Hong Kong in June against a proposed law that would have allowed China to try suspected criminals under the mainland’s opaque legal system, Huang posted two essays online about her experience participating in rallies. Time Staff, Time, "These Are the 10 'Most Urgent' Threats to Press Freedom in December 2019," 2 Dec. 2019 In June, Lam set off enormous protests by pushing ahead with a bill that would have allowed the extradition of Hong Kong residents to the opaque judicial system in mainland China. BostonGlobe.com, "HONG KONG — Prodemocracy candidates buoyed by months of street protests in Hong Kong were headed to a stunning victory in local elections on Sunday, as record numbers voted in a vivid expression of the city’s aspirations and its anger with the Chinese government.," 25 Nov. 2019 But Cassidy stresses that more needs to be done — by both online platforms and the fests themselves — to ensure inexperienced filmmakers aren't exploited by an opaque system. Katie Kilkenny, The Hollywood Reporter, ""People Can Be Exploited": How Below-the-Radar Film Festivals Prey on Struggling Moviemakers," 31 Oct. 2019 This sparked fears that the bill would allow for the transfer of suspects to China for trial in its more opaque judicial system. Fox News, "Murder suspect who sparked Hong Kong protests released from prison," 24 Oct. 2019 For many, the law appeared the fiercest attack yet on Hong Kong’s prized autonomy from the authoritarianism and opaque legal system of the mainland. Tripti Lahiri, Quartz, "The teen protester shot by Hong Kong police faces charges of assault and rioting," 3 Oct. 2019

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

1641, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for opaque

Latin opacus — see opacity

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Time Traveler for opaque

Time Traveler

The first known use of opaque was in 1641

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Statistics for opaque

Last Updated

24 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Opaque.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/opaque. Accessed 25 January 2020.

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More Definitions for opaque


How to pronounce opaque (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of opaque

: not letting light through : not transparent
: difficult to understand or explain


\ ō-ˈpāk How to pronounce opaque (audio) \

Kids Definition of opaque

1 : not letting light through : not transparent
2 : not reflecting light : dull an opaque paint


\ ō-ˈpāk How to pronounce opaque (audio) \

Medical Definition of opaque

: exhibiting opacity : not pervious to radiant energy

Other Words from opaque

opaqueness noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on opaque

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for opaque

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with opaque

Spanish Central: Translation of opaque

Nglish: Translation of opaque for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of opaque for Arabic Speakers

Comments on opaque

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


dull or mediocre

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