vague

adjective
\ ˈvāg \
vaguer; vaguest

Definition of vague 

1a : not clearly expressed : stated in indefinite terms vague accusations

b : not having a precise meaning a vague term of abuse

2a : not clearly defined, grasped, or understood : indistinct only a vague notion of what's needed also : slight a vague hint of a thickening waistline hasn't the vaguest idea

b : not clearly felt or sensed : somewhat subconscious a vague longing

3 : not thinking or expressing one's thoughts clearly or precisely vague about dates and places

4 : lacking expression : vacant vague eyes a vague stare

5 : not sharply outlined : hazy met by vague figures with shaded torchlights —Earle Birney

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Other words from vague

vaguely adverb
vagueness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for vague

Synonyms

fuzzy, indefinite, inexplicit, muzzy, unclear

Antonyms

clear, definite, explicit, specific

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Choose the Right Synonym for vague

obscure, dark, vague, enigmatic, cryptic, ambiguous, equivocal mean not clearly understandable. obscure implies a hiding or veiling of meaning through some inadequacy of expression or withholding of full knowledge. obscure poems dark implies an imperfect or clouded revelation often with ominous or sinister suggestion. muttered dark hints of revenge vague implies a lack of clear formulation due to inadequate conception or consideration. a vague sense of obligation enigmatic stresses a puzzling, mystifying quality. enigmatic occult writings cryptic implies a purposely concealed meaning. cryptic hints of hidden treasure ambiguous applies to language capable of more than one interpretation. an ambiguous directive equivocal applies to language left open to differing interpretations with the intention of deceiving or evading. moral precepts with equivocal phrasing

Examples of vague in a Sentence

When my three years of military service ended, I looked around for some way to get to spend time in rural Vietnam as a civilian. The driving force was still primarily intellectual curiosity, along with a desire to improve my language ability in a non-Western language and some vague idea of doing folkloristic or literary studies in the future. —Neil L. Jamieson, Understanding Vietnam, (1993) 1995 There are vague memories in our souls of those misty centuries when the world was in its childhood. —Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet, 1887 At the end of half an hour Tom had a vague general idea of his lesson, but no more, for his mind was traversing the whole field of human thought, and his hands were busy with distracting recreations. —Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer, 1876 It thrilled him with a vague uncertain horror, to know that behind the dusky shroud, there were ghostly eyes intently fixed upon him, while he, though he stretched his own to the utmost, could see nothing but a spectral hand and one great heap of black. —Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, 1843 The instructions she left were vague and difficult to follow. He gave only a vague answer. The judges determined that the law was too vague to be fairly enforced. She has been vague about her plans for college. We had only a vague idea of where we were. I think I have a vague understanding of how it works. He longed in some vague way for something different. She felt a vague sense of uneasiness when she was around him. I had the vague impression that they were withholding information. We could just barely make out the vague outline of a plane in the sky.
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Recent Examples on the Web

So far, Tesla’s teaser for the Model Y have been vague to the extreme. Matthew Jancer, Popular Mechanics, "Everything We Know About the Tesla Model Y," 11 July 2018 The challenge comes when the communication is vague. Tamara Lush, The Seattle Times, "Handling online threats to journalists presents difficulties," 3 July 2018 Part of Hendry’s frustration stems from its vague wording. Shaina Cavazos, Indianapolis Star, "Voucher waivers for struggling private schools are ‘out of control,’ Indiana official says," 8 Apr. 2018 Herman has been vague about who will call the plays next season, but the offense certainly looked more functional in the bowl game with Herman taking a larger role on that front. Andy Staples, SI.com, "What's a Reasonable Expectation for Texas in Year Two Under Tom Herman?," 7 Mar. 2018 Yet Mr Putin may pay some lip-service to the notion, perhaps agreeing to another vague ceasefire or limits on Iranian forces near the Israeli border, in the hopes of getting Mr Trump to withdraw American troops from Syria’s east and south in return. The Economist, "Vladimir Putin’s hopes for his long-awaited meeting with Donald Trump," 14 July 2018 Detectives investigating hit-and-run fatalities are often plagued by vague vehicle descriptions. Dan Morse, Washington Post, "This flaming 8-ball decal may help solve a hit-and-run mystery," 12 July 2018 The day before the Fourth of July, Barnes & Noble issued a vague press release announcing that the ailing company’s chief executive, Demos Parneros, had been fired, effective immediately and without severance pay, and removed from its board. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Is Barnes & Noble Too Big to Fail?," 6 July 2018 The idea is to establish multiple tests of the North’s willingness to carry through on Kim’s vague commitment to Trump. William J. Broad, The Seattle Times, "Bolton says North Korea could disarm in a year," 2 July 2018

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

circa 1661, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for vague

borrowed from French, going back to Middle French, going back to Old French, "wandering, vagabond," borrowed from Latin vagus "moving freely, wandering," perhaps akin to Old High German wankōn "to totter, stagger," winkan "to waver, stagger, wink," Old English wincian "to close the eyes" — more at wink entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near vague

vagrant

vagrom

vags

vague

vaguely

vague year

vaguish

Statistics for vague

Last Updated

18 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for vague

The first known use of vague was circa 1661

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More Definitions for vague

vague

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of vague

: not clear in meaning : stated in a way that is general and not specific

: not thinking or expressing your thoughts clearly or precisely

: not completely formed or developed

vague

adjective
\ ˈvāg \
vaguer; vaguest

Kids Definition of vague

1 : not clearly expressed a vague answer

2 : not clearly understood or sensed They knew in a vague way what they wanted.

3 : not clearly outlined At first Rosalind could see only vague shapes … —Jeanne Birdsall, The Penderwicks

Other words from vague

vaguely adverb
vagueness noun

vague

adjective
\ ˈvāg \

Legal Definition of vague 

: characterized by such a lack of precision that a person of ordinary intelligence would have to guess if particular conduct is being proscribed : characterized by a failure to describe forbidden conduct in terms sufficient to provide fair warning an unconstitutionally vague law — see also void-for-vagueness doctrine — compare overbroad

Other words from vague

vaguely adverb
vagueness noun

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Comments on vague

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