: not clearly expressed : stated in indefinite terms
: not having a precise meaning
a vague term of abuse
: 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
: not clearly felt or sensed : somewhat subconscious
a vague longing
: not thinking or expressing one's thoughts clearly or precisely
vague about dates and places
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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web The terms waterproof and water-resistant are rather vague. —Stefanie Waldek, Travel + Leisure, 27 Apr. 2023 Part of the problem is that many long COVID symptoms, as defined by the federal Department of Health and Human Services, are real but vague, and can worsen, or improve, over time. —Larry Buhl, USA TODAY, 21 Apr. 2023 While the franchise is continuing in two different directions—a spinoff movie Ballerina, starring Ana de Armas, and a spinoff prequel series The Continental, starring Mel Gibson—the future of the John Wick film series itself is a bit vague. —Joshua St. Clair, Men's Health, 25 Mar. 2023 The response appears vague, failing to detail specific ways the company prioritizes support of various racial, ethnic, religious, or cultural backgrounds. —Riley Blanton, Verywell Health, 23 Mar. 2023 Others complained that the focus was too vague. —Peter Rowe, San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 Mar. 2023 But the difference between a personal attack and legitimate criticisms of individuals’ actions can seem vague. —Judith Martin, oregonlive, 18 Apr. 2023 Xi calls for peace in Ukraine, even presenting a vague, mostly meaningless proposal. —Frida Ghitis, CNN, 13 Apr. 2023 The Outer Space treaty is also quite vague, according to Christopher Johnson, a space lawyer with the Secure World Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to space sustainability. —Jon Kelvey, Popular Science, 10 Apr. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'vague.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Love words? Need even more definitions?Merriam-Webster unabridged
See Definitions and Examples »
Get Word of the Day daily email!
Words at Play
Palter, Dissemble, and Other Words for Lying
Skunk, Bayou, and Other Words with Native American Origins
You've used more than you might think
Words For Things You Didn't Know Have Names, Vol. 2
When 'thingamajig' and 'thingamabob' just won't do
When Were Words First Used?
Look up any year to find out
Ask the Editors
Name That Tree!
A quiz that’s all bark, no bite.
Take the quiz
Name That Thing MegaQuiz: Vol. 5
Test your visual vocabulary!
Take the quiz
True or False?
Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something a...
Take the quiz
Spelling Bee Quiz
Can you outdo past winners of the National Spelli...
Take the quiz