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Synonym Chooser

How is the word obscure different from other adjectives like it?

Some common synonyms of obscure are ambiguous, cryptic, dark, enigmatic, equivocal, and vague. While all these words mean "not clearly understandable," obscure implies a hiding or veiling of meaning through some inadequacy of expression or withholding of full knowledge.

obscure poems

When can ambiguous be used instead of obscure?

The meanings of ambiguous and obscure largely overlap; however, ambiguous applies to language capable of more than one interpretation.

an ambiguous directive

In what contexts can cryptic take the place of obscure?

While the synonyms cryptic and obscure are close in meaning, cryptic implies a purposely concealed meaning.

cryptic hints of hidden treasure

When is dark a more appropriate choice than obscure?

The words dark and obscure are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, dark implies an imperfect or clouded revelation often with ominous or sinister suggestion.

muttered dark hints of revenge

When might enigmatic be a better fit than obscure?

The words enigmatic and obscure can be used in similar contexts, but enigmatic stresses a puzzling, mystifying quality.

enigmatic occult writings

When could equivocal be used to replace obscure?

While in some cases nearly identical to obscure, equivocal applies to language left open to differing interpretations with the intention of deceiving or evading.

moral precepts with equivocal phrasing

Where would vague be a reasonable alternative to obscure?

In some situations, the words vague and obscure are roughly equivalent. However, vague implies a lack of clear formulation due to inadequate conception or consideration.

a vague sense of obligation

Thesaurus Entries Near obscure

Cite this Entry

“Obscure.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/obscure. Accessed 19 Jun. 2024.

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