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

City commissioners during their last meeting had raised concerns about the agreement’s vague language. Meryl Kornfield, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Developer revises Pier 66 proposal, as city readies vote," 10 July 2018 But, on this, Trump failed big time: The joint statement that emerged from the summit included no such firm commitments, using vague language on denuclearization that is interpreted very differently by the two sides. Trudy Rubin, Philly.com, "At the Singapore summit, President Trump got played | Trudy Rubin," 12 June 2018 The agreement signed by President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday appeared to contain no new pledges and was padded with vague language that many experts said would be difficult to enforce. Alexander Smith /, NBC News, "Trump and Kim nuclear summit agreement contains no new promises," 12 June 2018 Additionally, Wann had no notice of statements that were the basis for the report or clarification of vague language in the report. Katy Moeller, idahostatesman, "Ridgevue football player accused of sexual harassment in 'horseplay' incident sues school district," 27 Apr. 2018 The Pulitzer’s vague language arises from the question of whether rap truly occupies the same artistic universe as music that doesn’t run on language. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Kendrick Lamar's Pulitzer Prize reveals the way hip-hop has scrambled the distinction between music and literature.," 18 Apr. 2018 That could set up a years-long court battle between the IRS and hedge fund managers trying to profit from Congress's vague language. Ben Steverman, chicagotribune.com, "Delivering your tax refund is the least of the IRS's problems," 17 Apr. 2018 But the laws have vague language, so regulators and courts must spell out the rules of competition. Eriq Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, "Trump, Time Warner, AT&T and How to Win the Antitrust Trial of the Century," 8 Mar. 2018 But beyond that vague language is a genuinely interesting idea: Adidas is working from the idea that top-down design is antiquated in 2018. Jake Woolf, GQ, "Meet Marc Dolce, One of Adidas's Biggest Weapons in Its War With Nike," 19 Feb. 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

2 Oct 2018

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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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evasion of direct action or statement

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