un·​clear | \ˌən-ˈklir \

Definition of unclear 

: not clear: such as

a : difficult to understand an unclear explanation unclear instructions an unclear reference

b : confused or uncertain about something often used with about was a little unclear about how to proceed

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from unclear

unclearly adverb
speaking unclearly an unclearly remembered incident

Synonyms & Antonyms for unclear


fuzzy, indefinite, inexplicit, muzzy, vague


clear, definite, explicit, specific

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of unclear in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

It’s unclear what new charges could result, said Tucker Carrington, a professor at the University of Mississippi law school. Jay Reeves, BostonGlobe.com, "US reopens probe of notorious 1955 slaying of black teen in Miss.," 12 July 2018 It’s unclear if Gary Harris was a piece involved in talks, or which picks were included. Matthew Vantryon, Indianapolis Star, "One year ago, the Victor Oladipo trade happened. Here's how he gave Pacers fans hope again.," 29 June 2018 It’s unclear if the changes will be as dramatic across the country after Wednesday’s decision. Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY, "Supreme Court rules against unions: How labor decision will affect union pay, benefits," 27 June 2018 While the identity of YouGov’s Operation Pomegranate hedge fund client remains unclear, knowledgeable sources identified two clients for its pre-election polling. Cam Simpson, Bloomberg.com, "Brexit’s Big Short: How Pollsters Helped Hedge Funds Beat the Crash," 25 June 2018 It’s unclear if such a note is appended to the parent’s file. Issie Lapowsky, WIRED, "How a Child Moves Through a Broken Immigration System," 20 June 2018 The neighbors, like so many city residents, experienced a swirling mix of emotions, from disgust and despair before the tent clearings to cautious relief and uneasiness about the homeless campers’ unclear fate afterward. San Francisco Chronicle, "“There is a suitcase full of human s— on the corner of Isis and 13th,” the email read. “Last night, I had to threaten violence to a man smoking crystal meth on my front porch. This morning, my 2-year-old son and I watched a rat rummage through the trash in our gutter.," 25 June 2018 It’s unclear what effect the bot apocalypse will have. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Is Twitter Good Now?," 13 July 2018 May’s government is now weaker than ever, and her future unclear. Ian Bremmer, Time, "The United Kingdom’s ‘Brexit Dream’ has Become a Waking Nightmare," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'unclear.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of unclear

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about unclear

Statistics for unclear

Last Updated

23 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for unclear

The first known use of unclear was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for unclear


un·​clear | \ˌən-ˈklir\

Kids Definition of unclear

: difficult to understand or make sense of Your directions are unclear.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on unclear

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unclear

Spanish Central: Translation of unclear

Nglish: Translation of unclear for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of unclear for Arabic Speakers

Comments on unclear

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


obstinately defiant of authority

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!