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Webster 1913 Edition


Obscure

Ob-scure′

(ŏb-skūr′)
,
Adj.
[
Com
par.
Obscurer
(ŏb-skūr′ẽr)
;
sup
erl.
Obscurest
.]
[L.
obscurus
, orig., covered;
ob-
(see
Ob-
) + a root probably meaning, to cover; cf. L.
scutum
shield, Skr.
sku
to cover: cf. F.
obscur
. Cf.
Sky
.]
1.
Covered over, shaded, or darkened; destitute of light; imperfectly illuminated; dusky; dim.
His lamp shall be put out in
obscure
darkness.
Prov. xx. 20.
2.
Of or pertaining to darkness or night; inconspicuous to the sight; indistinctly seen; hidden; retired; remote from observation; unnoticed.
The
obscure
bird
Clamored the livelong night.
Shakespeare
The
obscure
corners of the earth.
Sir J. Davies.
3.
Not noticeable; humble; mean.
“O base and obscure vulgar.”
Shak.
“An obscure person.”
Atterbury.
4.
Not easily understood; not clear or legible; abstruse or incomprehensible;
as, an
obscure
passage or inscription
.
5.
Not clear, full, or distinct; clouded; imperfect;
as, an
obscure
view of remote objects
.
Obscure rays
(Opt.)
,
those rays which are not luminous or visible, and which in the spectrum are beyond the limits of the visible portion.
Syn. – Dark; dim; darksome; dusky; shadowy; misty; abstruse; intricate; difficult; mysterious; retired; unnoticed; unknown; humble; mean; indistinct.

Ob-scure′

,
Verb.
T.
[
imp. & p. p.
Obscured
(ŏb-skūrd′)
;
p. pr. & vb. n.
Obscuring
.]
[L.
obscurare
, fr.
obscurus
: cf. OF.
obscurer
. See
Obscure
,
Adj.
]
To render obscure; to darken; to make dim; to keep in the dark; to hide; to make less visible, intelligible, legible, glorious, beautiful, or illustrious.
They are all couched in a pit hard by Herne’s oak, with
obscured
lights.
Shakespeare
Why, 't is an office of discovery, love,
And I should be
obscured
.
Shakespeare
There is scarce any duty which has been so
obscured
by the writings of learned men as this.
Wake.
And seest not sin
obscures
thy godlike frame?
Dryden.

Ob-scure′

(ŏb-skūr′)
,
Verb.
I.
To conceal one's self; to hide; to keep dark.
[Obs.]
How! There's bad news.
I must
obscure
, and hear it.
Beau. & Fl.

Ob-scure′

,
Noun.
Obscurity.
[Obs.]
Milton.

Webster 1828 Edition


Obscure

OBSCU'RE

,
Adj.
[L. obscurus.]
1.
Dark; destitute of light.
Whoso curseth his father or mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness. Prov. 20.
2.
Living in darkness; as the obscure bird.
3.
Not easily understood; not obviously intelligible; abstruse; as an obscure passage in a writing.
4.
Not much known or observed; retired; remote from observation; as an obscure retreat.
5.
Not noted; unknown; unnoticed; humble; mean; as an obscure person; a person of obscure birth.
6.
Not easily legible; as an obscure inscription.
7.
Not clear, full or distinct; imperfect; as an obscure view of remote objects.

OBSCU'RE

,
Verb.
T.
[L. obscuro.]
1.
To darken; to make dark. The shadow of the earth obscures the moon, and the body of the moon obscures the sun, in an eclipse.
2.
To cloud; to make partially dark. Thick clouds obscure the day.
3.
To hide from the view; as, clouds obscure the sun.
4.
To make less visible.
Why, 'tis an office of discovery, love, and I should be obscured.
5.
To make less legible; as, time has obscured the writing.
6.
To make less intelligible.
There is scarce any duty which has been so obscured by the writings of the learned as this.
7.
To make less glorious, beautiful or illustrious.
- And see'st not sin obscures thy godlike frame?
8.
To conceal; to make unknown.
9.
To tarnish; as, to obscure brightness.

Definition 2022


obscure

obscure

English

Adjective

obscure (comparative obscurer or more obscure, superlative obscurest or most obscure)

  1. Dark, faint or indistinct.
    • Dante Alighieri, Inferno, 1, 1-2
      I found myself in an obscure wood.
    • Bible, Proverbs xx. 20
      His lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.
  2. Hidden, out of sight or inconspicuous.
    • William Shakespeare
      The obscure bird / Clamoured the livelong night.
    • Sir J. Davies
      the obscure corners of the earth
  3. Difficult to understand.
    • 2013 August 3, The machine of a new soul”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8847:
      The yawning gap in neuroscientists’ understanding of their topic is in the intermediate scale of the brain’s anatomy. Science has a passable knowledge of how individual nerve cells, known as neurons, work. It also knows which visible lobes and ganglia of the brain do what. But how the neurons are organised in these lobes and ganglia remains obscure.
    an obscure passage or inscription;    The speaker made obscure references to little-known literary works.

Usage notes

  • The comparative obscurer and superlative obscurest, though formed by valid rules for English, are less common than more obscure and most obscure.

Synonyms

Antonyms

Derived terms

Related terms

Translations

Verb

obscure (third-person singular simple present obscures, present participle obscuring, simple past and past participle obscured)

  1. (transitive) To render obscure; to darken; to make dim; to keep in the dark; to hide; to make less visible, intelligible, legible, glorious, beautiful, or illustrious.
    • William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
      They are all couched in a pit hard by Herne's oak, with obscured lights.
    • William Wake (1657-1737)
      There is scarce any duty which has been so obscured by the writings of learned men as this.
    • 1959, Georgette Heyer, chapter 1, in The Unknown Ajax:
      But Richmond [] appeared to lose himself in his own reflections. Some pickled crab, which he had not touched, had been removed with a damson pie; and his sister saw, peeping around the massive silver epergne that almost obscured him from her view, that he had eaten no more than a spoonful of that either.
  2. (transitive) To hide, put out of sight etc.
    • Bill Watterson, Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat, page 62
      I realized that the purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure poor reasoning, and inhibit clarity.
  3. (intransitive, obsolete) To conceal oneself; to hide.

Synonyms

Translations


French

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /ɔpskyr/

Adjective

obscure

  1. feminine singular of obscur

Anagrams


Latin

Adjective

obscūre

  1. vocative masculine singular of obscūrus

References