vague

adjective
\ ˈvāg How to pronounce vague (audio) \
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

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

Fairfax City Police had only a vague description of the man. Washington Post, "Local Digest: D.C.’s second-hottest day recorded on Thursday at 98 degrees," 13 Sep. 2019 Police were searching for a suspect, but only a vague description of the man was immediately available. Alex Riggins, San Diego Union-Tribune, "SDPD searching for stabbing suspect near Old Town," 27 Aug. 2019 The relationship between leads Aldis Hodge and Kevin Bacon got tiresome and vague, and the finale was topped by a courtroom scene teetering on illogic. Matthew Gilbert, BostonGlobe.com, "The best and worst of TV this summer," 22 Aug. 2019 Its big idea, though vague, is at least a fascinating curiosity. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "“The Kitchen,” Reviewed: An Engrossing Mob-Wife Drama That’s Relegated to a Table Read," 8 Aug. 2019 Events Info Group also links to a number of dubious-looking websites including B2B Data Shop, The Eventys and Star Vertex, which all have vague business descriptions, identical stock images and duplicate testimonials. Taylor Mims, Billboard, "Scams Offering to Sell Festivals' Customer Data Highlight Ongoing Battle for Privacy," 7 Aug. 2019 As for Kate Middleton and Prince William, the answer is a little more vague. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Kate Middleton, Prince William, Meghan Markle, and Prince Harry Missed Prince Charles' Birthday Gala," 26 Oct. 2018 Official accounts of phone calls between the two leaders—once a point of pride for Mr. Macron’s office—have recently became more vague. Stacy Meichtry, WSJ, "End of L’Affaire: Trade Spat Halts Trump-Macron ‘Bromance’," 8 June 2018 Details have been vague as Alabama this week rolled visuals of a new LED lighting system at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Michael Casagrande | Mcasagrande@al.com, al, "Alabama releases video of new Bryant-Denny Stadium light show," 16 Aug. 2019

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 2019

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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 How to pronounce vague (audio) \
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 How to pronounce vague (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on vague

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with vague

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for vague

Spanish Central: Translation of vague

Nglish: Translation of vague for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vague for Arabic Speakers

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