Thesaurus

obscure

adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms of obscure

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 having an often intentionally veiled or uncertain meaning
  • a fantasy writer who likes to put lots of obscure references and images in her tales of wizards and warlocks

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4 not seen or understood clearly
  • a distinction so obscure that only the experts can really see it

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obscure

verb

Synonyms & Antonyms of obscure (Entry 2 of 2)

1 to keep secret or shut off from view
  • the investigative reporters obscured their real motives for visiting the company by pretending the story was about something else

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2 to make dark, dim, or indistinct
  • when it isn't obscured by smog, the view of the city from the observatory can be spectacular

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Frequently Asked Questions About obscure

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

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Time Traveler for obscure

Time Traveler

The first known use of obscure was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Obscure.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/obscure. Accessed 7 Aug. 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on obscure

Dictionary: Definition of obscure

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with obscure

Spanish Central: Translation of obscure

Nglish: Translation of obscure for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of obscure for Arabic Speakers

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