Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia.


 (ŏb-skyo͝or′, əb-)
adj. ob·scur·er, ob·scur·est
1. Deficient in light; dark: the obscure depths of a cave.
a. So faintly perceptible as to lack clear delineation; indistinct: an obscure figure in the fog.
b. Indistinctly heard; faint.
c. Linguistics Having the reduced, neutral sound represented by schwa (ə).
a. Far from centers of human population: an obscure village.
b. Out of sight; hidden: an obscure retreat.
4. Not readily noticed or seen; inconspicuous: an obscure flaw.
5. Of undistinguished or humble station or reputation: an obscure poet; an obscure family.
6. Not clearly understood or expressed; ambiguous or vague: Some say that Blake's style is obscure and complex. See Synonyms at ambiguous.
tr.v. ob·scured, ob·scur·ing, ob·scures
1. To make dim, indistinct, or impossible to see: "His face was obscured in shadow" (Rosemary Mahoney). See Synonyms at block.
2. To make difficult to discern mentally or understand: The meaning of the text was obscured by its difficult language.
3. To diminish the stature of; overshadow or detract from: "[His] character was so repellent that it has obscured his historical role" (David Rains Wallace).
4. Linguistics To reduce (a vowel) to the neutral sound represented by schwa (ə).
Something obscure or unknown.

[Middle English, from Old French obscur, from Latin obscūrus; see (s)keu- in Indo-European roots.]

ob·scure′ly adv.
ob·scure′ness n.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:


Lying beyond what is obvious or avowed:
Idiom: under cover.
References in classic literature ?
I wish--I wish--" she sighed, for melancholy came over her and obscured at least a section of her clear vision.
It was this: I asked myself whether there was not in his soul some deep-rooted instinct of creation, which the circumstances of his life had obscured, but which grew relentlessly, as a cancer may grow in the living tissues, till at last it took possession of his whole being and forced him irresistibly to action.
But because there is, in man, an election touching the frame of his mind, and a necessity in the frame of his body, the stars of natural inclination are sometimes obscured, by the sun of discipline and virtue.
However, Dave Rivera, science research specialist of Phivolcs, said the agency was not able to record any details about the eruption due to the obscured view.
Also, when the piece size is extensive, generally inadequate edges can be changed out in the obscured picture, which fundamentally influences the outcome.
But the new studies show that obscured active galaxies behave differently than their exposed counterparts: they duster closer together and tend to reside near gas-rich, star-forming galaxies.
The sun is obscured to make the dimmer solar atmosphere more visible.
The highest percentage of the eclipse was in Russia, Finland, Sweden and Norway, with 86% of the sun obscured.
The view of St Paul's Church tower from Stockton which for generations of those of us who have affection for Thornaby was a welcome sight, is in the process of being obscured by this building.
MOTORIST Simon Rook is calling for action to improve obscured speed limit signs in Coventry - after first reporting the problem seven months ago.
A motorist yesterday won a High Court test case which legal experts say should prevent drivers being convicted in future if their view of roadside speed limit signs is obscured by overhanging trees or hedges.
A MOTORIST has won a High Court test case which legal experts say should prevent drivers being convicted in future if their view of speed limit signs is obscured by overhanging trees or hedges.