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 An appeals court ruled that Yagman’s request was too vague but broadened Freedom of Information Act case law by requiring the CIA to work with him in framing a viable request. Los Angeles Times, 8 Oct. 2021 This was always a big question since the sets and costumes were vague enough to suggest perhaps Sabrina was taking place at a different timeline compared to Riverdale. Nick Romano, EW.com, 7 Oct. 2021 In papers made available by Manigault Newman's lawyer, John Phillips, the arbitrator, Andrew Brown, said the definition of the type of comment protected by the nondisclosure agreement was so vague that it had been rendered meaningless. The New York Times, Arkansas Online, 29 Sep. 2021 The judge said the law’s criminal provisions were likely unconstitutionally vague, explaining it’s unclear at what point in the process doctors can be deemed to be aware that fetal genetic abnormality exists. BostonGlobe.com, 28 Sep. 2021 The Constitution itself is vague enough to justify those debates. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 24 Sep. 2021 The authorization pop-up that Apple Music shows is more vague, saying only that media library and listening activity will be shared. Tyler Hayes, Wired, 20 Sep. 2021 Walker wrote that the new law is vague enough that it could be read to criminalize continuing a protest after violence occurs — even if the protesters were not involved in any violence and do not support violence. NBC News, 10 Sep. 2021 Carmen Hernandez, attorney or Donovan Crowl, who's facing the more serious conspiracy charges, disagreed, saying prosecutors' use of the obstruction statute is too vague and, therefore, unconstitutional. Kristine Phillips, USA TODAY, 8 Sep. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near vague

vags

vague

vaguely

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Last Updated

14 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Vague.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vague. Accessed 18 Oct. 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: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy

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

Nglish: Translation of vague for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vague for Arabic Speakers

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