Did You Know?
The meaning of obnubilate becomes clearer when you know that its ancestors are the Latin terms ob- (meaning "in the way") and nubes ("cloud"). It's a high-flown sounding word, which may be why it often turns up in texts by and about politicians. This has been true for a long time. In fact, when the U.S. Constitution was up for ratification, 18th-century Pennsylvania statesman James Wilson used obnubilate to calm fears that the president would have too much power: "Our first executive magistrate is not obnubilated behind the mysterious obscurity of counsellors…. He is the dignified, but accountable magistrate of a free and great people."
The writer's essay includes some valid points, but they are obnubilated by his convoluted prose style.
"Early street lighting had the disconcerting effect of obnubilating as well as illuminating urban space." — Matthew Beaumont, Nightwalking: A Nocturnal History of London, 2015
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Word Family Quiz
What English word beginning with "n" is a French borrowing that traces back to Latin nubes and is used to refer to subtle distinctions or variations?VIEW THE ANSWER
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