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

Antonyms

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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 These numbers are subject to debate, because the Copenhagen agreement was vague about what should actually count as climate finance, says Sarah Colenbrander, director of ODI’s climate and sustainability program. Tim Mcdonnell, Quartz, 10 June 2021 Kacholia was vague about their objections but gave Gebru a week to act. Tom Simonite, Wired, 8 June 2021 The government, which has sought outside investors, has been vague about the price tag but estimates construction of roads, bike paths and infrastructure improvements to piers and water systems will cost more than $300 million. Los Angeles Times, 2 June 2021 Bill Belichick has been vague about Patricia’s role all offseason, and was again when asked about it Thursday. BostonGlobe.com, 28 May 2021 Even outside traffic stops, police are vague about their reasons for stops and use unlawful premises. Stuart Schrader, The New Republic, 27 May 2021 As the rocket and airstrike barrages have continued, Hamas has been vague about its calculations and goals. New York Times, 17 May 2021 While the public Community Standards are vague about Ms. Buxton’s tattoos, Facebook’s internal guidelines address the issue and say they should be allowed. Kirsten Grind, WSJ, 4 May 2021 Patent documents filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office paint a picture — albeit a relatively vague one — of a luxury vehicle designed to be highly automated and user friendly. Clare Duffy, CNN, 31 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for vague

Time Traveler

The first known use of vague was circa 1661

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Last Updated

16 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Vague.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vague. Accessed 19 Jun. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on vague

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for vague

Nglish: Translation of vague for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vague for Arabic Speakers

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