: blocking the passage of radiant energy and especially light : exhibiting opacity (see opacity sense 1)
: hard to understand or explain
opaque prose
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 held 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
Recent Examples on the Web Voting in the presidential election will be held over three days in March, with an opaque system of electronic voting poised to play a central part for the first time in a presidential vote. Natalia Abbakumova, Washington Post, 5 Feb. 2024 But rejection in the face of seemingly opaque decision-making by the government is problematic. Byrozina Breen, Fortune Europe, 1 Feb. 2024 As soon as the salmon begins to turn opaque, sprinkle in the wine. Domenica Marchetti, Charlotte Observer, 31 Jan. 2024 Style Beauty Entertainment Shopping Wellness Culture Gifts Video Women of the Year Celebrity Style The (inexpensive) pièce de résistance: opaque red tights. Kathleen Walsh, Glamour, 30 Jan. 2024 While companies mentioning their disability inclusion programs is a step in the right direction, information about the makeup of their workforces still falls short when companies are opaque about the actual number of people with disabilities among their ranks. Paige McGlauflin, Fortune, 30 Jan. 2024 The new census decreased the number of disappeared from nearly 111,000 to about 94,000 in the national registry, but critics argued that the process was opaque. Emiliano Rodríguez Mega César Rodríguez, New York Times, 25 Jan. 2024 But clamping down on the evasion is difficult in the opaque world of merchant shipping. Tim Lister, CNN, 29 Jan. 2024 The rest of her look consists of opaque black tights and black pointed-toe heels that blend well together. Kerane Marcellus, Essence, 23 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'opaque.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin opacus — see opacity

First Known Use

1641, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of opaque was in 1641

Dictionary Entries Near opaque

Cite this Entry

“Opaque.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/opaque. Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


: not letting light through : not transparent
: hard to understand
: dull of mind : stupid
opaquely adverb
opaqueness noun

Medical Definition


: exhibiting opacity : not pervious to radiant energy
opaqueness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on opaque

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