• WordNet 3.6
    • adj obscure not clearly understood or expressed "an obscure turn of phrase","an impulse to go off and fight certain obscure battles of his own spirit"-Anatole Broyard","their descriptions of human behavior become vague, dull, and unclear"- P.A.Sorokin","vague...forms of speech...have so long passed for mysteries of science"- John Locke"
    • adj obscure marked by difficulty of style or expression "much that was dark is now quite clear to me","those who do not appreciate Kafka's work say his style is obscure"
    • adj obscure remote and separate physically or socially "existed over the centuries as a world apart","preserved because they inhabited a place apart"- W.H.Hudson","tiny isolated villages remote from centers of civilization","an obscure village"
    • adj obscure not drawing attention "an unnoticeable cigarette burn on the carpet","an obscure flaw"
    • adj obscure not famous or acclaimed "an obscure family","unsung heroes of the war"
    • adj obscure difficult to find "hidden valleys","a hidden cave","an obscure retreat"
    • v obscure make obscure or unclear "The distinction was obscured"
    • v obscure make undecipherable or imperceptible by obscuring or concealing "a hidden message","a veiled threat"
    • v obscure reduce a vowel to a neutral one, such as a schwa
    • v obscure make unclear, indistinct, or blurred "Her remarks confused the debate","Their words obnubilate their intentions"
    • v obscure make less visible or unclear "The stars are obscured by the clouds","the big elm tree obscures our view of the valley"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Obscure Covered over, shaded, or darkened; destitute of light; imperfectly illuminated; dusky; dim. "His lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness."
    • Obscure Not clear, full, or distinct; clouded; imperfect; as, an obscure view of remote objects.
    • Obscure Not easily understood; not clear or legible; abstruse or incomprehensible; as, an obscure passage or inscription.
    • Obscure Not noticeable; humble; mean. "O base and obscure vulgar.""An obscure person."
    • n Obscure Obscurity.
    • Obscure 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."
      "The obscure corners of the earth."
    • v. i Obscure ŏb*skūr" To conceal one's self; to hide; to keep dark. "How! There's bad news.
      I must obscure , and hear it."
    • v. t Obscure 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.""Why, 't is an office of discovery, love,
      And I should be obscured ."
      "There is scarce any duty which has been so obscured by the writings of learned men as this.""And seest not sin obscures thy godlike frame?"
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • obscure Dark; deprived of light; hence, murky; gloomy; dismal.
    • obscure Living in darkness; pertaining to darkness or night.
    • obscure Not capable of being clearly seen, on account of deficient illumination.
    • obscure Hence In logic, not clear, as an idea; not sharply distinguished from others. Thus if a person knows that isabella color is a sort of light yellow, but could not recognize it with certainty, he would have an obscure idea of the meaning of that term.
    • obscure Not perspicuous, as a writing or speech; not readily understood, on account of faultiness of expression. But if the difficulty lies in the close thought required for a complicated matter, the expression may be quite clear, and not obscure.
    • obscure Hidden; retired; remote from observation: as, an obscure village.
    • obscure Unknown to fame; unnoticed; hence, humble; lowly: as, an obscure curate.
    • obscure In entomology: Not distinct: as, obscure punctures.
    • obscure Not clear; dull or semi-opaque: as, obscure green or red.
    • obscure Synonyms Dark, dim, darksome, dusky, rayless, murky.
    • obscure Obscure, Doubtful, Dubious, Ambiguous, Equivocal; difficult, intricate, vague, mysterious, enigmatical. In regard to the meaning of something said or written, obscure is general, being founded upon the figure of light which is insufficient to enable one to see with any clearness; this figure is still felt in all the uses of the word. Doubtful is literal, meaning full of doubt, quite impossible of decision or determination, on account of insufficient knowledge. Dubious may be the same as doubtful, but tends to the special meaning of that doubtfulness which involves anxiety or suspicion: as, dubious battle; dubious prospects; a dubious character. Ambiguous applies to the use of words, intentionally or otherwise, in a way that makes certainty of interpretation impossible; but it may be used in other connections: as, an ambiguous smile. Equivocal applies to that which is ambiguous by deliberate intention. See darkness.
    • obscure Unhonored, inglorious.
    • n obscure Obscurity.
    • obscure To cover and shut off from view; conceal; hide.
    • obscure To darken or make dark; dim.
    • obscure To deprive of luster or glory; outshine; eclipse; depreciate; disparage; belittle.
    • obscure To render doubtful or unintelligible; render indistinct or difficult of comprehension or explanation; disguise.
    • obscure To hide; conceal one's self.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Obscure ob-skūr′ dark: not distinct: not easily understood: not clear, legible, or perspicuous: unknown: humble: unknown to fame: living in darkness
    • v.t Obscure to darken: to make less plain: to render doubtful
    • adj Obscure pertaining to obscurantism
    • ***


  • Tryon Edwards
    “Never be so brief as to become obscure.”
  • Horace
    “I strive to be brief, and I become obscure.”
  • Napoleon Bonaparte
    “A Constitution should be short and obscure.”
  • Don Delillo
    “Hardship makes the world obscure.”
  • Aldous Huxley
    “I'm afraid of losing my obscurity. Genuineness only thrives in the dark. Like celery.”
  • Source Unknown
    Source Unknown
    “Doubt obscures the true vision of the heart.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
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


In literature:

It was the obscure and unknown hero who appealed to her: such a one as this man might be.
"Parrot & Co." by Harold MacGrath
Whatever shall tend to obscure or malign your character will of course excite our solicitude.
"Arthur Mervyn" by Charles Brockden Brown
The lantern is in front, and enables the benighted wanderer to see in the most profound obscurity.
"A Journey to the Centre of the Earth" by Jules Verne
Sampiero was the son of obscure parents who lived at Bastelica.
"Sketches and Studies in Italy and Greece, Complete" by John Symonds
He found that this obscure fur post carried on a wealth of trade which might have been the envy of a corporation a hundred times its size.
"The Triumph of John Kars" by Ridgwell Cullum
In a stone vault beneath were deposited the Sibylline books, containing obscure and prophetic sayings.
"A Smaller History of Rome" by William Smith and Eugene Lawrence
The ten years that followed were passed in obscure industry.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 4, Part 4" by Various
It could not have been a divination, therefore it must have been some obscure phenomenon of memory.
"The Child of Pleasure" by Gabriele D'Annunzio
Hopeless is the obscurity, unspeakable the confusion.
"Sartor Resartus, and On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History" by Thomas Carlyle
This legend has, however, no real value and the meaning of the superstition attaching to the plant is obscure.
"The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India - Volume IV of IV" by R.V. Russell

In poetry:

Boy tired! Those words of parting pain
Thou never more wilt breathe again,
Nor lift the moaning cry,
For naught to wound or vex, or cloy,
Invades the cherub home of joy,
No shade obscures the sky.
"Wentworth Alexander," by Lydia Howard Huntley Sigourney
When my friends have said, Beware,
Soon or late you'll find a change;
I could see no cause for fear,
Vain their caution seemed and strange:
Not a cloud obscured my sky,
Could I think a tempest nigh?
"The Change" by John Newton
Light-heart and glad they seemed to me
And merry comrades (EVEN SO
"The Jolly Company" by Rupert Brooke
A well of love—it may be deep—
I trust it is,—and never dry:
What matter? if the waters sleep
In silence and obscurity.
—Such change, and at the very door
Of my fond heart, hath made me poor.
"A Complaint" by William Wordsworth
My heart's fit to break, yet no tear fills my eye,
As I gaze on the moon, and the clouds that flit by;
The moon shines so fair, it reminds me of thee,
But the clouds that obscure it are emblems of me.
"My Heart's Fit To Break" by Lady Caroline Lamb
All else is vain—the days to come
Are shrouded in obscurity:
But Jesus burst his mortal tomb—
And I shall not death's prisoner be.
There's bliss enough in this to cheer
All the dim woes that vex us here.
"Winter: Friday Evening" by John Bowring

In news:

We care because of the real amateurs who toil in obscurity for little more than the purity of the pursuit.
Hugely popular in the 1980s, they stumbled out of the decade and into semi-obscurity with neither apparent influence nor lasting legacy.
Mention an Internet chat room and certain images spring to mind: over-caffeinated teenage boys trading World of Warcraft tips or fantasy baseball fanatics slinging obscure stats.
Thanks to television, people comparatively obscure during their lifetimes enjoy the possibility of becoming celebrated after they are dead.
Andrew Mills/The Star-Ledger Ray Wegrzynek is looking to break into the NFL in the most obscure way -- as a long snapper.
The Ku Klux Klan appears to be on the rise again after years of irrelevance and splintered obscurity.
Tao, considered as an entity, is obscure and vague.
Vague and obscure yet within it there is Form.
Obscure and vague yet within it there is Substance.
Jennings and Golden Tate, obscured, in the final moments of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept 24, 2012, in Seattle.
In the days before the internet, people who were rude to waitstaff and/or didn't tip properly could go about their shameful lives in relative obscurity.
Local pop outfit The Brides Of Obscurity stop by KEXP for a live in-studio performance on Audioasis.
The myth of obscurity .
From the Valley of Obscurity , Robeson's Baritone Rings Out.
Slain nun's piety obscured in details of bizarre death.

In science:

This means that the afterglow position in detector coordinates with respect to the thick wire grid cannot be known ‘a priori’ as well as the level of the grid obscuration.
Absorption in Gamma Ray Burst afterglows
It soon became apparent to us that these requirements render Penon’s theory inflexible, making constructions and proofs hard and obscure in situations where they should be easy and transparent.
Weak Omega Categories I
Also, if the emission lines of passive spirals are just suppressed by the heavy obscuration by dust in optical wavelength, passive spirals might not be passive at all.
Are Passive Spiral Galaxies Truly "Passive" and "Spiral"? : Near-Infrared Perspective
Suffice it to make three remarks: (i): I think part of the reason for the obscurity is that it is unclear exactly how to formulate endurantism (Sider 2001, p. 63-68). (ii): Some endurantists agree that some such account is needed.
On the Persistence of Homogeneous Matter
Thirty-one of our candidates have high estimated powers (Lx > 1044 erg/s) and therefore qualify as optically obscured quasars, the so-called “QSO 2”.
Discovery of optically faint obscured quasars with Virtual Observatory tools