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Obscure   /əbskjˈʊr/   Listen
Obscure

adjective
(compar. obscurer; superl. obscurest)
1.
Not clearly understood or expressed.  Synonym: vague.  "An impulse to go off and fight certain obscure battles of his own spirit" , "Their descriptions of human behavior become vague, dull, and unclear" , "Vague...forms of speech...have so long passed for mysteries of science"
2.
Marked by difficulty of style or expression.  Synonym: dark.  "Those who do not appreciate Kafka's work say his style is obscure"
3.
Difficult to find.  Synonym: hidden.  "A hidden cave" , "An obscure retreat"
4.
Not famous or acclaimed.  Synonyms: unknown, unsung.  "Unsung heroes of the war"
5.
Not drawing attention.  Synonym: unnoticeable.  "An obscure flaw"
6.
Remote and separate physically or socially.  Synonyms: apart, isolated.  "Preserved because they inhabited a place apart" , "Tiny isolated villages remote from centers of civilization" , "An obscure village"



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"Obscure" Quotes from Famous Books



... was it not a great blessing that the Marchesino should be prevented from throwing himself away in that manner? The first match in Ravenna to be carried off by an obscure and plebeian Venetian artist. Truly it was all for the best ...
— A Siren • Thomas Adolphus Trollope

... imagine a Roman to have felt on learning that a Christian was capable of giving up his fish-ponds and nightingales' tongues, and his afternoons at the amphitheatre, for the sake of what he called 'Truth' proclaimed by an obscure few." ...
— Sketches from Concord and Appledore • Frank Preston Stearns

... globular, thin, corneous, transparent (in the only known species smooth or marked by obscure lines of growth) imperforate; spire not produced (with a sinistral nucleus ?). Aperture oblong, entire, angulated below; peristome ...
— Voyage Of H.M.S. Rattlesnake, Vol. 2 (of 2) • John MacGillivray

... correction of optical defects by glasses." In 1874 and 1876 he wrote two articles that "impressed upon the general profession the grave significance of eye strain." Since that time, "in Philadelphia at least, no study of the rebellious cause of headache or of the obscure nervous diseases has ever been considered complete until a careful examination of the eyes has included them as a possible cause ...
— Civics and Health • William H. Allen

... cavernous room Penn seemed to have seen in his dreams. The same irregular, rocky roof started up from the wall by his bed, and stretched away into vague and obscure distance. All was familiar to him, but all was somehow mixed up with frightful fantasies which had vanished with the fever that had so recently left him. The awful shapes, the struggles of demoniac men, the processions of strange and beautiful forms, which had visited him in his delirious visions,—all ...
— Cudjo's Cave • J. T. Trowbridge

... commonly fixed as the test of literary merit. Whatever advantages he might once derive from personal allusions, local customs, or temporary opinions, have for many years been lost; and every topick of merriment or motive of sorrow, which the modes of artificial life afforded him, now only obscure the scenes which they once illuminated. The effects of favour and competition are at an end; the tradition of his friendships and his enmities has perished; his works support no opinion with arguments, nor supply any faction with invectives; ...
— Eighteenth Century Essays on Shakespeare • D. Nichol Smith

... reached the ears of one Mitridanes, a young man of a country not far distant. Who, knowing himself to be no less wealthy than Nathan, grew envious of the renown that he had of his good deeds, and resolved to obliterate, or at least to obscure it, by a yet greater liberality. So he had built for himself a palace like that of Nathan, of which he did the honours with a lavish courtesy that none had ever equalled, to whoso came or went that way; and verily in a short while he ...
— The Decameron, Vol. II. • Giovanni Boccaccio

... becoming a rector, dignified and chaste in its language. It was the letter of a dignitary of the Church to an unknown and obscure child in a distant land, but it told of a father and mother's gratitude for a son's life saved, it breathed an admiration for the little girl's devotion and heroism, and a love for her that would last as ...
— Sowing Seeds in Danny • Nellie L. McClung

... out with some insistence. He guesses with no one contradicting him that rice is useful, that flour is still more useful, and that every pound we can find in the native shops should be taken. The obvious is often somewhat obscure in times like these, and the men who act are very laudable. There is no denying it that on this 20th the Americans showed more energy than anybody else, and pushed everybody to sending out their carts and bringing in tons upon tons of food. Every shop containing grain was raided, ...
— Indiscreet Letters From Peking • B. L. Putman Weale

... that it would be his last fight. In the turmoil of smoke and dust, his poor strivings, his upward gropings out of the dark; his glad inspirations, his thrilling hopes, must come to an obscure end. It was a miserable way to die, nothing to come out of it, no ennobling sacrifice demanding it to lift a man's name beyond his day. In the history of this violent place, this death-struggle against overwhelming numbers would be only ...
— Trail's End • George W. Ogden

... most unfavorable light before a select assembly—an obscure navigator, a member of no learned institution, destitute of all the trappings and circumstances which sometimes give oracular authority to dullness, and depending on the ...
— Christopher Columbus and His Monument Columbia • Various

... saying, that he felt himself, as he sat there opposite Rendel, whose wisdom and sagacity in reality so far exceeded his own, to be in the position of the older, wiser man of great influence and many opportunities condescending to explain his own career to an obscure novice. ...
— The Arbiter - A Novel • Lady F. E. E. Bell

... laws. In the ordinary course of Providence, the method of mediate production, gradual growth, and progressive development, may be observed in innumerable instances; but it can never be justly held to exclude, or even to obscure, the evidence of a presiding Intelligence and a supernatural Power. On the contrary, it may serve rather to enhance that evidence; since the very arrangements and provisions which have been made with a view to the reproduction of every thing after its kind, may bear on them the legible impress ...
— Modern Atheism under its forms of Pantheism, Materialism, Secularism, Development, and Natural Laws • James Buchanan

... Niagara. Above the falls they built The Griffin, a schooner of forty-five tons, to carry the necessities of the Mississippi settlement westward by way of the Great Lakes. This vessel was lost by some obscure calamity, and the conjecture is that she foundered in Lake Michigan. La Salle now found himself at the head of a mutinous company stranded at Fort Crevecoeur on the Illinois, facing a winter with practically no provisions. Six of his men deserted, and on two occasions treachery all ...
— Old Quebec - The Fortress of New France • Sir Gilbert Parker and Claude Glennon Bryan

... dear lord, that you have the reputation of a long list of ancestors to sustain. Your house has been the support of the throne, and the boast of Italy. You are not placed in an obscure station, where little would be expected from you, and little would be the disappointment, though you should act in an imprudent or a vicious manner. The antiquity of your house fixes the eyes of your countrymen upon you. Your accession ...
— Italian Letters, Vols. I and II • William Godwin

... will give sweetness and beauty to the most rugged scenes. The man, that banishes envy and introduces contentment; the man, that converts the little circle in which he dwells into a terrestrial paradise, that renders men innocent here, and happy for ever, may be obscure, may be despised by the superciliousness of luxury; but it shall never be said that he has been a blank in creation. The Supreme Being will regard him with a complacency, which he will deny to kings, that oppress, and conquerors, that destroy the ...
— Damon and Delia - A Tale • William Godwin

... after his marriage with the princess). "I do not say," continued the man, "that it is one of the wonders of the world, but that it is the only wonder of the world; since nothing so grand, rich, and magnificent was ever beheld. Certainly you must have come from a great distance, or some obscure corner, not to have heard of it, for it must have been talked of all over the world. Go and see it, and then judge whether I have told you more than the truth." "Forgive my ignorance," replied the African magician; "I arrived ...
— The Arabian Nights Entertainments vol. 3 • Anon.

... and swearing code for field service.—(Ah! these dear old Generals, what depths of simplicity they disclose when they get by themselves! I sometimes think that if I had my life to live over again I would keep a newspaper and become a really great General. I know some five or six obscure aboriginal tribes that have never yet yielded a single war ...
— Twenty-One Days in India; and, the Teapot Series • George Robert Aberigh-Mackay

... fellow, was long since dead of his dragging ailment. His old father was dead, too, the house in Stuyvesant Square had been turned into a boarding-house, and the shifting life of New York had passed its rapid sponge over every trace of their obscure little history. Even the optimistic McCarren seemed to acknowledge the hopelessness of seeking for ...
— The Early Short Fiction of Edith Wharton, Part 1 (of 10) • Edith Wharton

... region royal and mighty mansion, The seed celestial and heavenly wisdom, The Second Person, and God's one Son, For our sake is man become. This godly sphere, descended here, Into a virgin clear, She undefiled, By whose work, obscure our frail nature ...
— Everyman and Other Old Religious Plays, with an Introduction • Anonymous

... have become so much a part of you that your innermost thoughts are as plain to me as though they were mine. But let me finish. I realized when I lay ill and about to die that I had permitted my theory of happiness to obscure my perception of the actual. As you know, my whole life has been given over to imagination—all save that portion of my existence, which I shall not dignify by calling life, when I was forced by circumstances to bring myself down to realities. ...
— The Water Ghost and Others • John Kendrick Bangs

... choice, rare. Danger, peril, jeopardy, hazard, risk. Darken, obscure, bedim, obfuscate. Dead, lifeless, inanimate, deceased, defunct, extinct. Decay, decompose, putrefy, rot, spoil. Deceit, deception, double-dealing, duplicity, chicanery, guile, treachery. Deceptive, deceitful, ...
— The Century Vocabulary Builder • Creever & Bachelor

... not so truly of ourselves. These bodily ornaments and endowments do not perfect or better a man as a man, they are but the alterable qualities of the vessel or tabernacle of a man, in which other baser creatures may far excel him. How many comely and beautiful souls are lodged within obscure and ugly cottages or bodies of clay, which will be taken down! And the great advantage is, that the soul of a man, which is a man, cannot be defiled from without, that is, from the body, though never so loathsome or deformed, the vilest body cannot mar the soul's beauty. But then, ...
— The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning • Hugh Binning

... those who are retained must submit to a reduction of wages; though in these cases there is neither more nor less capital than before. This is true; and is one of those complications in the concrete phenomena which obscure and disguise the operation of general causes; but it is not really inconsistent with the principles laid down. Capital which the owner does not employ in purchasing labor, but keeps idle in his hands, is the same thing to the laborers, for the time being, as if it did not exist. ...
— Principles Of Political Economy • John Stuart Mill

... must content herself with being the Inspiration of the life of Another, who would work out plans that should inure to the good of man and the honor of the Being, who would inspire and sustain the Toiler. The poem was considered very fine by H.M., though the thoughts were a little too obscure for the general public and the meter was not very smooth. You have doubtless had occasion to notice that poems which deal with Beings and Inspirations are usually ...
— The Mystery of Metropolisville • Edward Eggleston

... at both Royal Glen and Seneca tends to obscure another set of even more basically relevant considerations having to do with the whole question of flood plain occupancy and use, the extent to which those who benefit from it should share the cost of such protection as may be necessary, and possible ways of reversing a present trend toward ...
— The Nation's River - The Department of the Interior Official Report on the Potomac • United States Department of the Interior

... story, and raises the question, Why should Jesus have been angry? If we can find no reason for his anger, we must leave the thing as altogether obscure; for I do not know where to find another meaning for the word, except in the despair of a ...
— Unspoken Sermons - Series I., II., and II. • George MacDonald

... optimist to say good things of April days, even in the sub-Himalayan tract. Fierce scorching west winds sweep over the earth, covering everything with dust. Sometimes the flying sand is so thick as to obscure the landscape, and often, after the wind has dropped, the particles remain suspended for days as a dust haze. The dust is a scourge. It is all-pervading. It enters eyes, ears, nose and mouth. To escape it is impossible. Closed doors and windows fail to keep it from entering ...
— A Bird Calendar for Northern India • Douglas Dewar

... ports and of all their shipping; and your lordships may easily conceive with what security we should venture upon the ocean, in a state of war, when all the harbours of the continent afforded shelter to our enemies. If the French privateers from a few obscure creeks, unsupported by a fleet of war, or at least not supported by a navy equal to our own, could make such devastations in our trade as enabled their country to hold out against the confederacy of almost ...
— The Works of Samuel Johnson, Vol. 11. - Parlimentary Debates II. • Samuel Johnson

... there, sitting before the stove, in those last delicious moments before going to bed, when all the house is mellowed to such a warmth that it seems hard to leave it to the cold and dark. In this poor lady, who had so long denied herself spiritual comfort, there was a certain obscure luxury: she liked little dainties of the table; she liked soft warmth, an easy cushion. It was doubtless in the disintegration of the finer qualities of her nature, that, as they grew older together, she threw more and more the burden of acute feeling upon her husband, to whose ...
— A Modern Instance • William Dean Howells

... of the Commonwealths of Switzerland and Holland is of a like nature, though after a more obscure manner; for the sovereignties, whether cantons, provinces, or cities, which are the people, send their deputies, commissioned and instructed by themselves (wherein they reserve the result in their own power), to the provincial or general convention, or Senate, where the ...
— The Commonwealth of Oceana • James Harrington

... la nuit, sous une voute obscure, Le silence conduit leui assemblee impure. A la pale lueur d'un magique flambeau S'eleve un vil autel dresse sur un tombeau. C'est la que des deux rois on placa les images, Objets de leur terreur, objets de leurs outrages. Leurs sacrileges mains out mele sur l'autel A des noms ...
— Secret Societies And Subversive Movements • Nesta H. Webster

... knot at its end. Underneath the knot was chalked "Pull." I pulled. The door opened on a mass of enclosed night. From the street it was hard to see what was there, so I went inside. What was there might have been a cavern—narrow, obscure, and dangerous with dim obstructions. Some of the shadows were darker than others, because the cave ended, far-off, on a port-light, a small square of day framed in black. Empty space was luminous beyond that cave. Becoming ...
— London River • H. M. Tomlinson

... parades; he afterwards became eminent for his skill in the use of the flute. Having completed his education at school, which consisted of instruction in the elementary branches, he became apprenticed to a cotton-weaver. Collecting old or obscure airs, he began to adapt to them suitable words, which he jotted down as they occurred, upon a rude writing-desk he had attached to his loom. His spare hours were spent in the general improvement of ...
— The Modern Scottish Minstrel, Volume II. - The Songs of Scotland of the past half century • Various

... openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and beast, it is mine." From this verse females might be included with males. Reference is made to Deut. xv. 19, where it is found "All the firstling males." Still it is obscure, when there are firstling females, about the males born afterward. Reference is made to Exod. xxxiv. 19: "All that openeth the matrix is mine." Here all first-born are allowed. This, however, is too general, ...
— Hebrew Literature

... perform the duties assigned to him if either she or Havens knew him for what he was. His pride would have been deeply wounded if he had known that Grover & Dickhut recommended him to Wharton as "obscure." ...
— The Purple Parasol • George Barr McCutcheon

... signs are sometimes obscure and their real significance is frequently overlooked. The most prominent symptoms are the yellowness of the white of the eyes and of the mucous membranes lining the mouth, appetite poor, body presents an emaciated appearance, the feces is light in color, while the ...
— The Veterinarian • Chas. J. Korinek

... in its Relation to Induced Electromotive Force and Current.—By ELIHU THOMSON.—A most impressive paper, bringing the obscure laws of magnetic induction within the understanding of all without the ...
— Scientific American Supplement, No. 711, August 17, 1889 • Various

... condition, and I have no higher ambition than to see my only child grow up an honest man, diligent in his calling, whatever it may be. My first wish is, that my boy may be a Christian: it will never trouble me that he must work hard and be obscure; for if he is pious, honest, and happy in his own mind, he will be a greater man than those who fill high stations without the qualifications ...
— Watch—Work—Wait - Or, The Orphan's Victory • Sarah A. Myers

... for several years, his nearest relations supposed him dead, and began to take the necessary steps for obtaining his estates; when, roused by this intelligence, he returned privately to England, and for a time took obscure lodgings in the ...
— The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, No. 351 - Volume 13, Saturday, January 10, 1829 • Various

... conducted party newspapers for them, without political convictions of his own. But when he had done the work of carrying elections and creating popularity, he did not find the idols he had set up at all disposed to reward the obscure scribe to whom they ...
— Captains of Industry - or, Men of Business Who Did Something Besides Making Money • James Parton

... at each other, the man and the girl, while the wild fear in her heart began to still. The dust of the drive was thick on his boots, his clothes, his face, but the soil of travel could not obscure the power of his carriage, the strong lines of his shoulders, the set of his broad, flat back, any more than it could tarnish her rarity, the sweetness of blood in her that under his gaze beat faintly into her dusky cheeks. The still force ...
— Brand Blotters • William MacLeod Raine

... mountains rear their heads of lasting snow, And seem like old men grouped around in high-backed chairs of space; And they bathe their feet like children in the brooks that run below, Or smoke their pipes in silence till the clouds obscure ...
— Stories in Verse • Henry Abbey

... by the Senatus, presided over by the Professors, to which every one might gain ready admittance on sight of his matriculation ticket, where it would be a favour and not a necessity to speak, and where the obscure student might have another object for attendance besides the mere desire to save his fines: to wit, the chance of drawing on himself the favourable consideration of his teachers. This would be merely following in the good tendency, which has been ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. XXII (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... subject, and its results, are well set forth by Mr. Livermore; and had his work been limited to these chapters alone, it should have won him a distinguished place among those who have cast a light as of life upon the obscure difficulties which now beset the great question. More encouraging and extremely interesting is that second portion of the work which gives the opinions of the founders of the republic respecting negroes as soldiers, ...
— The Continental Monthly, Vol. 3 No 2, February 1863 - Devoted To Literature And National Policy • Various

... reports that Laurier proposed to make way for a successor upon some basis which might make an accommodation between the two wings of the party possible; and there was an attempt by a small group of Liberal M.P.'s to bring this about. The treatment of this incident in Professor Skelton's volume is obscure. In any case it had no significance and it came to nothing. Laurier alike by choice and necessity ...
— Laurier: A Study in Canadian Politics • J. W. Dafoe

... my equanimity with the thought that I had been visited by some stroke of an obscure and ...
— The Inheritors • Joseph Conrad

... restrictions binding our powers to penetrate certain secrets of an intermittent force, has in this great western country carefully prepared what might quite properly be termed a progressive course of study, wherein each locality makes plain a special point that somewhere else appears obscure. ...
— Cave Regions of the Ozarks and Black Hills • Luella Agnes Owen

... Rome bow'd to Pompey, and confess'd her lord. Yet one day lost, this deity below Became the scorn and pity of his foe. His blood a traitor's sacrifice was made, And smok'd indignant on a ruffian's blade. No trumpet's sound, no gasping army's yell, Bid, with due horror, his great soul farewell. Obscure his fall! all welt'ring in his gore, His trunk was cast to perish on the shore! While Julius frown'd the bloody monster dead, Who brought the world in his great rival's head. This sever'd head and trunk shall join once more, Tho' realms now rise between, and oceans ...
— The Poetical Works of Edward Young, Volume 2 • Edward Young

... forced to pay her scanty dollars. There were bulletins, rules, counter-rules. As she talked, Sommers caught the atmosphere of the great engine to which she had given herself. A mere isolated atom, she was set in some obscure corner of this intricate machine, and she was compelled to revolve with the rest, as the rest, in the fear of disgrace and of hunger. The terms "special teachers," "grades of pay," "constructive work," "discipline," etc., had no special significance ...
— The Web of Life • Robert Herrick

... in life together. Now that dream had come to an end. Ericson, of course, would naturally desire to recover his position in South America; but even if he were to succeed he could hardly expect Helena to settle down to a life in an obscure and foetid South American town. Sir Rupert took this for granted. He did not argue it out. It came to his eyes as a certain, unarguable fact. He knew that his daughter was unconventional, but he construed that only as being unconventional within conventional ...
— The Dictator • Justin McCarthy

... not cry out. As he was brought close to the staring eyes, and felt their sinister gaze run over him, it flashed through him for some obscure reason that the monster knew him for what he was, the leader, from the tiny bars on each shoulder of his sea-suit.... He waited for the ...
— Astounding Stories, February, 1931 • Various

... true of himself as of the rest. Hume is a very clever man, and probably knows more of the principles of trade and commerce than anybody, but so it is in every department of Government—great ignorance on the part of the chiefs, and a few obscure men of industry and ability who do the business and supply the knowledge requisite, sic vos ...
— The Greville Memoirs - A Journal of the Reigns of King George IV and King William - IV, Volume 1 (of 3) • Charles C. F. Greville

... of state) of dispositions, and of means, and of probable consequences, rather than of positive rights. As it was not made for common abuses, so it is not to be agitated by common minds. The speculative line of demarcation, where obedience ought to end and resistance must begin, is faint, obscure, and not easily definable. It is not a single act or a single event which determines it. Governments must be abused and deranged indeed, before it can be thought of; and the prospect of the future must be as bad as the experience of the past. ...
— The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. III. (of 12) • Edmund Burke

... patented as the "Nelros Cup of Fortune." A short explanation of the symbols, and the method of using this cup, will be helpful for those who are not familiar with its signs. I am not suggesting the use of the "Nelros" saucer, for the reason that its signs are somewhat obscure, and students who have no experience in the science of astrology would find it confusing, if used in addition to the cup, in which ...
— Telling Fortunes By Tea Leaves • Cicely Kent

... know it. Don't interrupt me; I am going to be eloquent. I want you to understand why I don't consider you sociable. You call Mr. Johnson conceited; but, really, I don't believe he's nearly as conceited as yourself. You are too conceited to be sociable; he is not. I am an obscure, weak-minded woman,—weak-minded, you know, compared with men. I can be patronized,—yes, that's the word. Would you be equally amiable with a person as strong, as clear-sighted as yourself, with a person equally averse with yourself to being under an obligation? ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 17, No. 100, February, 1866 • Various

... uneasily. His face was haggard, and behind his closed lids, somewhere in the center of thought and memory, a train of fiery words burned in an ever-widening circle, round and round and round, ploughing, searing their way through some obscure part of him that had heretofore been without feeling, but was now all ...
— Homespun Tales • Kate Douglas Wiggin

... chronicled in it, as well as the issues and upshot of all things. It is at once the mirror to all time of the sins and perfections of men, of the judgments and grace of God, and the record, often the only one, of the transient names, and local factions, and obscure ambitions, and forgotten crimes of the poet's own day; and in that awful company to which he leads us, in the most unearthly of his scenes, we never lose sight of himself. And when this peculiarity sends us to history, it seems as if the poem which was to hold such a place in Christian ...
— The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 07 • Various

... shook with fear,—under cover of 'the well turned and true filled lines in each of which he seems to shake a lance as brandished in the eyes of Ignorance,' without suspicion—without challenge, from the crowned Ignorance, or the Monster that crowned it. It is the history of this unknown, obscure, unhonoured Father of the Modern ...
— The Philosophy of the Plays of Shakspere Unfolded • Delia Bacon

... grant you that, Dick," said I, making sure that his excitement would obscure the double meaning in the admission. And then I added, sincerely enough: "She has never given me the right ...
— The Master of Appleby • Francis Lynde

... around him. He would keep them there till midnight. I would get tired, want to go home, cuss Abe most heartily. Abe was a good talker, a good reader, and was a kind of newsboy." One or two articles written by Abe found their way into obscure journals, to his infinite gratification. His foot was on the first round of the ladder. It is right to say that his culture was not solely political, and that he was able to astonish the natives of Gentryville by explaining that when the sun appeared to set, it "was we did the sinking ...
— Lectures and Essays • Goldwin Smith

... enough,' said Eugene, coolly. Far be it from me to say otherwise. The sister who is something too much upon your lips, perhaps—is so very different from all the associations to which she had been used, and from all the low obscure people about her, that it ...
— Our Mutual Friend • Charles Dickens

... was the usual character of these hybrids; and it has suggested itself to my mind as a possibility, which I have not, at present, sufficient data either to prove or to disprove, that the sterility of hybrids in general (still a somewhat obscure subject) may perhaps be partly due to hybridism having a tendency ...
— Scientific American Supplement, No. 344, August 5, 1882 • Various

... neighborhood. The pride seemed to be, not that the new bonnet was a superb affair, but that such a fashionable artist produced it, and that it cost so much money. Had it been equally beautiful at half the cost, or the handiwork of an obscure milliner, it would have been considered mean. Thus, instead of a necessity for being extravagant, it struck me there was a desire to be so, and principally in order that others, when they looked on the display, might be awed into deference, if not into admiration, ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 15, No. 88, February, 1865 • Various

... analogies from whence to reason. The objects which are attempted to be forced into an analogy are not found in the same classes of existence. Individuals are physical beings subject to laws universal and invariable. The immediate cause acting in these laws may be obscure; the general results are subjects of certain calculation. But commonwealths are not physical but moral essences. They are artificial combinations, and, in their proximate efficient cause, the arbitrary productions of the human mind. ...
— Selections from the Speeches and Writings of Edmund Burke. • Edmund Burke

... still dimly discern the form, but it was so obscure that had it not been moving about, he would not have been able to distinguish it or make sure it was within ...
— A Waif of the Mountains • Edward S. Ellis

... estimates in such matters, not merely untrue, but precisely the reverse of the truth; it is truth, like reflections in water, distorted much by the shaking receptive surface, and in every particular, upside down. For my "language," until within the last six or seven years, was loose, obscure, and more or less feeble; and still, though I have tried hard to mend it, the best I can do is inferior to much contemporary work. No description that I have ever given of anything is worth four lines of Tennyson; and in serious thought, ...
— The Two Paths • John Ruskin

... Faust, Coster, and Gutenberg, invented the Book, craftsmen as obscure as many a great artist of those times appropriated paper to the uses of typography. In the fifteenth century, that naive and vigorous age, names were given to the various formats as well as to the different sizes of type, names that bear the impress of the naivete of ...
— Two Poets - Lost Illusions Part I • Honore de Balzac

... dealing with daily matters, there is no reason why we should disregard it when we are dealing with history or fable. Tradition may be defined as an extension of the franchise. Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of birth; ...
— Orthodoxy • G. K. Chesterton

... in honour of a departed relative of the king, Paris resolved to visit the capital and take part in them himself. There he so greatly distinguished himself in a contest with his unknown brothers, Hector and Deiphobus, that the proud young princes, enraged that an obscure shepherd should snatch from them the prize of victory, were about to create a disturbance, when Cassandra, who had been a spectator of the proceedings, stepped forward, and announced to them that the humble peasant who had so signally defeated them was their own {285} brother Paris. He was then ...
— Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome • E.M. Berens

... from the front by a mini-sneaker camera. About five feet tall. The stance was slightly bent forward, long arms. Two vertical nose slits. A flat, lipless mouth. Receding chin. Four-fingered hands. It wore a wide belt from which dangled neat pouches and what looked like tools, although their use was obscure. There appeared to be the tip of a tail protruding from behind one of the squat legs. Behind the creature towered the faery spires of the city ...
— Missing Link • Frank Patrick Herbert

... Sestiere di San Marco by the Grand Canal. And this they must have done at the traghetto di San Spirito. Neither the church nor the traghetto are now in existence, and this part of the story is therefore obscure.[226] ...
— Renaissance in Italy, Volumes 1 and 2 - The Catholic Reaction • John Addington Symonds

... time to think of his answer. On subsequent days he always doubled the period required for deliberation; and when Hiero inquired the reason, he replied that the longer he considered the subject, the more obscure it appeared." ...
— The Pleasures of Life • Sir John Lubbock

... numberless parentheses, is very obscure. One of the counsel of the defendant requests them to be more explicit; and thereupon they become utterly unintelligible. Besides, they contradict each other. One has looked upon the act of the accused as a mere jest: the other has looked ...
— Within an Inch of His Life • Emile Gaboriau

... as anything more than figures of fun. From first to last their conception of the enemy was an overstrenuous, foolish man, red with effort, with protruding eyes and a forced frightfulness of demeanour. That he might be tremendously lethal did not in the least obscure the fact that he was essentially ridiculous. And if as the war went on the joke grew grimmer, still it remained a joke. The German might make a desert of the world; that could not alter the British conviction that he was making a ...
— Mr. Britling Sees It Through • H. G. Wells

... every body whose face was visible was on the broad grin. All classes were represented. The wealthier nobles entered into the spirit of the scene with as great gusto as the humblest artisan who treated his obscure sweet-heart ...
— The Dodge Club - or, Italy in 1859 • James De Mille

... shadowy world, Still more and more unfurled, The gathered mists upcurled Like phantoms melt and pass. In clear-obscure revealed, Brown wood, gray stream, dark field: Fresh, healthy odors yield Wet furrows, ...
— The Poems of Emma Lazarus - Vol. I (of II.), Narrative, Lyric, and Dramatic • Emma Lazarus

... any body who knows London this will not be surprising.—The wonder was in the Misses Leaf being so simple as to imagine that a young country lady, settling herself in lodgings in an obscure metropolitan street, without friends or introduction, could ever expect such a thing. No thing but her own daring, and the irrepressible well-spring of hope that was in her healthy youth, could have sustained her in what, ten years after, would have appeared to her, as it certainty was, downright ...
— Mistress and Maid • Dinah Craik (aka: Miss Mulock)

... resolved to ascend to the summit of Montanvert. I remembered the effect that the view of the tremendous and ever-moving glacier had produced upon my mind when I first saw it. It had then filled me with a sublime ecstasy that gave wings to the soul and allowed it to soar from the obscure world to light and joy. The sight of the awful and majestic in nature had indeed always the effect of solemnizing my mind and causing me to forget the passing cares of life. I determined to go without a guide, for I was well acquainted with the path, and the presence of another would ...
— Frankenstein - or The Modern Prometheus • Mary Wollstonecraft (Godwin) Shelley

... asserted the present applicability of the full detailed programme of the Sermon on the Mount, and have endeavoured to carry it into immediate effect, have been scanty in numbers, and obscure. A few early Christian communities, soon extinct; a few hermits isolated from their fellows; a few monks in secluded cloisters; a few friars repudiated by their own orders; a few small antinomian Protestant sects springing up and vanishing with gourd-like rapidity; ...
— Freedom In Service - Six Essays on Matters Concerning Britain's Safety and Good Government • Fossey John Cobb Hearnshaw

... and, according to Bayle, "the most monstrous that could be devised, and directly opposed to all the most evident ideas of our intelligence." He goes on to say that Bruno, in his war against Aristotle, invented doctrines a thousand times more obscure than the most incomprehensible things written by the disciples of ...
— Studies from Court and Cloister • J.M. Stone

... the document viii. 1-3, which introduces names so entirely unknown to the rest of the evangelical tradition as Joanna and Susanna [Endnote 215:1]. A trace of the same, or an allied document, appears in chap. xxiv, where we have again the name Joanna, and afterwards that of the obscure disciple Cleopas. Again, the mention of Martha and Mary is common only to St. Luke and the fourth Gospel. Zacchaeus is peculiar to St. Luke. Yet, not only does each of the sections relating to these personages re-appear in Marcion's Gospel, but it re-appears precisely ...
— The Gospels in the Second Century - An Examination of the Critical Part of a Work - Entitled 'Supernatural Religion' • William Sanday

... Charnwood were not destined always to obscure the path of our young hero. The premature death of Mrs. Sittingbourn, at the age of seventy, occasioned by incautious burning of a pot of charcoal in her sleeping-chamber, left him in his nineteenth year nearly without resources. That the stage at all should have ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 12, No. 72, October, 1863 • Various

... that he had dated his use of Somebody's soap to an advertisement persistently borne upon him through the medium of a railway carriage window? No! Would he not have connected that man with that other certifying individual who always appends a name and address singularly obscure and unconvincing, yet who, at some supreme moment, recommends Somebody's pills to a dying friend,—afflicted with a similar address,—which restore him to life and undying obscurity. Yet these pictorial and literary appeals must have a potency ...
— Under the Redwoods • Bret Harte

... Lion, whose jaws are at all times open to intelligence, informs me that there are a few enormous weapons still in being; but that they are to be met with only in gaming houses and some of the obscure retreats of lovers, in and about ...
— All About Coffee • William H. Ukers

... sickened and died. Her child was never born. The charitable gave her credit for having refused food through grief for her husband, Tungche. The skeptical listened to the details of her illness with scorn for the vain efforts to obscure the dark deeds of ambition. In their extreme anxiety to realize their own designs, and at the same time not to injure the constitution, the two empresses had been obliged to resort to a plan that could only have been suggested by desperation. For the first time since the Manchu dynasty ...
— China • Demetrius Charles Boulger

... satisfied with metaphor. "We affirm that in all men is this majestic perception and command; that it is the presence of the eternal in each perishing man; that it distances and degrades all statements of whatever saints, heroes, poets, as obscure and confused stammerings before its silent revelation. They report the truth. It is the truth." In this last extract we have Emerson actually affirming that his dogma of the Moral Law is Absolute ...
— Emerson and Other Essays • John Jay Chapman

... every cottage fireside, while Froebel's writings were intelligible only to his disciples. Pestalozzi had an exuberant imagination and delightful directness and simplicity of expression; Froebel's style was labored and obscure, and his doctrines may be better known through the "Child and Child Nature" of the Baroness Marenholz von Buelow than through his own ...
— Autobiography of Friedrich Froebel • Friedrich Froebel

... present state beyond the fairly obvious effects of the morphia, he rightly surmised that her nervous system had sustained a severe shock. He saw, too, that while in the villa she had been the prey of some obscure but almost paralysing fear. Directly she was removed from the atmosphere of the Cliffords' house ...
— Juggernaut • Alice Campbell

... the Spaniards, the oppressor of the Indians. For himself, he assumed the character of a redresser of grievances and champion of the injured. He pretended to feel a patriotic indignation at the affronts heaped upon Spaniards by a family of obscure and arrogant foreigners; and professed to free the natives from tributes wrung from them by these rapacious men for their own enrichment, and contrary to the beneficent intentions of the Spanish ...
— The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus (Vol. II) • Washington Irving

... made him look up; and he was restored, and saw every man clearly. Now this must be done for you; and in order to have it done you must go to Christ Himself, not to one of His servants. Make your complaint, tell Him how obscure everything still looks to you, and beg Him to complete your cure He may see fit to try your faith and patience by delaying this completion; but meanwhile you are safe in His presence, and while led by His hand; ...
— Stepping Heavenward • Mrs. E. Prentiss

... first consorted was a daughter of Fujiwara Motokata, who represented a comparatively obscure branch of the great family, and had attained the office of chief councillor of State (dainagori) only. She bore to his Majesty a son, Hirohira, and the boy's grandfather confidently looked to see him named Prince Imperial. But presently the daughter of ...
— A History of the Japanese People - From the Earliest Times to the End of the Meiji Era • Frank Brinkley and Dairoku Kikuchi

... modulations in his conversational husky tone. But the sense of being blinked at watchfully behind the blind glitter of these eye-glasses on the other side of the table disconcerted him. He stopped short with a gesture of absolute devotion. The useful, hard-working, if obscure member of the Embassy had an air of being impressed by some ...
— The Secret Agent - A Simple Tale • Joseph Conrad

... Secretary of State. His gravestone is inscribed with a resounding verse from Tickell's lines to his memory, the only lines by which Tickell himself is now remembered, and which (as I discovered a little while ago) he mainly filched from an obscure versifier of somewhat ...
— Our Old Home - A Series of English Sketches • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... years, With all their toils and pleasures, griefs and fears. Go where I may, thou ever art with me, As Counsellor and Friend, dear Memory! Thy secret depths I would again explore, And must draw largely ere my task be o'er. Be thou no ignis fatuus to allure Me from the paths of truth, nor it obscure, While I attempt to paint the coming scenes, Which COOPER passed through with such slender means, 'Tis early Spring-time, and the opening buds Bestud the boughs of trees through all the woods. The snow and frost remain ...
— The Emigrant Mechanic and Other Tales In Verse - Together With Numerous Songs Upon Canadian Subjects • Thomas Cowherd

... Fanny said indulgently, and then chose to be more obscure in her meaning than ever, for she adopted a tone of deep sympathy for her final remark, as she left him: "I don't wonder you're nervous ...
— The Magnificent Ambersons • Booth Tarkington

... has preserved Pedro Sancho's spelling of proper names, calling attention to the modern equivalent on the first occurrence of each name. In a few instances, where the text was unusually obscure, close translation has not ...
— An Account of the Conquest of Peru • Pedro Sancho

... out and be killed, but they skulked in the desert, and hid in masquerade. But why should gentlemen in office, opulent and happy, set about worrying a handful of idiots, old, or poor, or boys, or women, or obscure, or amiable and well-meaning men, who were but a remnant of a former generation, and as little connected with the fanatics of Carthage, Alexandria, or Rome, as the English freemasons may seem to be with their namesakes on the continent? True, Christianity ...
— Callista • John Henry Cardinal Newman

... The place was not magnificent; but, as he only wanted rest, it did well enough for that: he did not wish for daylight, and was even still less desirous of being seen; wherefore, having shut himself up in this obscure retreat, he fell into a profound sleep, and did not wake until noon. As he was particularly hungry when he awoke, he ate and drank heartily: and, as he was the neatest man at court, and was expected by the neatest lady in England, ...
— The Memoirs of Count Grammont, Complete • Anthony Hamilton

... the archaeological remains are the coins which are found in great abundance on the frontier and all over the Panjab. These take us back through the centuries to times before the invasion of India by Alexander, and for the obscure period intervening between the Greek occupation of the Frontier and the Muhammadan conquest, they are our main source of history. The most ancient of the Indian monetary issues are the so-called punch-marked coins, some ...
— The Panjab, North-West Frontier Province, and Kashmir • Sir James McCrone Douie

... tell what it was, whether man or beast and the dusk only served to make it more obscure. Then the object scrambled up on to the trail and Jim at once recognized the dwarf Mexican with his high-crowned sombrero and his velvet suit richly slashed. With his crooked back and one eye, he was anything but a prepossessing-looking creature. ...
— Frontier Boys on the Coast - or in the Pirate's Power • Capt. Wyn Roosevelt

... all mutilated and stripped of all their clothing. The Indians had left nothing which they thought might be turned to the least account. One poor fellow had escaped the rigid scrutiny of the red men by crawling to an obscure place where he had died from his wounds. On his body was found a belt that contained three hundred dollars in gold—his hard earnings that he had been saving up against a day of need. Had the savages known of this money, they would not have left it, for they are quite familiar with the use, if ...
— The Life and Adventures of Kit Carson, the Nestor of the Rocky Mountains, from Facts Narrated by Himself • De Witt C. Peters

... brace and bit were at work. At last the wall had been penetrated, and he quickly removed every trace from the other side that would have attracted attention to a little hole in an obscure corner ...
— The Dream Doctor • Arthur B. Reeve

... house to which fate has led him, where, ill-starred and unhappy like himself, this other child of Waelse's lives, in subjection to Hunding, her lord, who has come by her through some obscure commerce, and to whom she is no more than part ...
— The Wagnerian Romances • Gertrude Hall

... less. He gazed at the others waiting for arriving travellers and wondered whether any of the peers of American letters had come to meet the poet. A stoutish, neatly dressed gentleman with a gray moustache looked like Mr. Howells, and he thrilled again. It was hardly possible that he, the obscure reviewer, was the only one who had been notified of Verne's arrival. That tall, hawk-faced man whose limousine was purring outside must be a certain publisher he ...
— Shandygaff • Christopher Morley

... "s" and "f" are so nearly alike? Is it not enough that I, an impulsive American, accustomed to do a thing first, and reflect upon it afterwards, must grope my way through a blind alley of substantives and adjectives, only to find the verb of action in an obscure corner, without ruining my eyesight in ...
— The Twins of Table Mountain and Other Stories • Bret Harte

... felt Though distant from thee Worlds between, yet felt That I must after thee with this thy Son; Such fatal consequence unites us three: Hell could no longer hold us in her bounds, Nor this unvoyageable Gulf obscure Detain from following thy illustrious track. Thou hast atchiev'd our libertie, confin'd Within Hell Gates till now, thou us impow'rd To fortifie thus farr, and overlay 370 With this portentous Bridge ...
— The Poetical Works of John Milton • John Milton

... of certain speculators of entirely insignificant standing of whom he had chanced to see and hear anecdotes in New York. Most of them were youths of obscure origin who sold newspapers or blacked boots, or "swapped" articles the value of which lay in the desire they could excite in other persons to possess them. A popular method known as "bluff" was their most trusted weapon, and even at twelve and fifteen years of age Tembarom had always regarded it ...
— T. Tembarom • Frances Hodgson Burnett

... to be. Starvation and death from thirst? I could see very little other prospect. For the first day I had been comparatively sanguine that a ship would come along, but hourly this hope dwindled, till there was no real hope left, but only the old obscure and unreasoning human obstinacy. So on the second day I suffered from my thoughts; I hadn't, as yet, ...
— The Tale Of Mr. Peter Brown - Chelsea Justice - From "The New Decameron", Volume III. • V. Sackville West

... the circumstantialities of the case, explaining what may have been obscure to the general reader. By which term general reader is meant, that reader who has had no reason for cultivating any acquaintance whatever with India; to whom, therefore, the whole subject is unbroken ground; and who neither knows, ...
— The Uncollected Writings of Thomas de Quincey—Vol. 1 - With a Preface and Annotations by James Hogg • Thomas de Quincey

... January 3rd Friday 1806 The Sun rose fair this morning for the first time for Six weeks past, the Clouds Soon obscure it from our view, and a Shower of rain Suckceededlast night we had Sharp lightening a hard thunder Suckceeded with heavy Showers of hail, and rain, which Continud with intervales of fair moon Shine dureing the night. Sent out Sergt. Gass & 2 men to the ...
— The Journals of Lewis and Clark • Meriwether Lewis et al

... movement of the men out of the barroom, all talking together, clamorously suggesting plans, or merely, as in the case of the younger men and boys, venting their excitement in hoots and catcalls. It was a close dark night, obscure enough to make cowards brave, and the crowd that surged out of the tavern were by no means cowards, but angry and resolute men, whose exasperation at the action of the authorities, was sharpened and pointed by well-founded apprehensions of the ...
— The Duke of Stockbridge • Edward Bellamy

... second reason, more obscure. I wanted to keep for a while the little mystery of the lady who had come to the farmhouse room in the dark of the night. She was pure romance, a rare incident in a prosaic age. My table had been bare of such delicately spiced morsels, and ...
— The Thing from the Lake • Eleanor M. Ingram

... has a bright green, scanty basis, including distinct crystals and patches of white carbonate of lime, and grains of red, semi-micaceous oxide of iron; in parts the basis becomes dark green, and assumes an obscure crystalline arrangement, and occasionally in parts it becomes soft and slightly translucent like soapstone. These red and green rocks are often quite distinct, and often pass into each other; the passage being sometimes affected by a fine brecciated ...
— South American Geology - also: - Title: Geological Observations On South America • Charles Darwin

... clear representation of a given conception (which is given in a confused state) has been fully developed, until I know that the representation is adequate with its object. But, inasmuch as the conception, as it is presented to the mind, may contain a number of obscure representations, which we do not observe in our analysis, although we employ them in our application of the conception, I can never be sure that my analysis is complete, while examples may make this probable, although they can never demonstrate ...
— The Critique of Pure Reason • Immanuel Kant

... publication has been left to rest upon their details as far as possible. But as a collection of communications of this confidential nature, written from day to day upon passing events, must necessarily involve numerous allusions which, intelligible at the time, are either obscure or liable to misapprehension now, occasional notices of the principal topics and circumstances referred to have been introduced wherever they appeared to be required. By the help of this illustrative ...
— Memoirs of the Courts and Cabinets of George the Third - From the Original Family Documents, Volume 1 (of 2) • The Duke of Buckingham and Chandos

... have succeeded where they have failed. Don't you know also that there are papers here in London which would give hundreds of pounds for the chance of publishing such a scandal as this, especially against a powerful political opponent. Let it once come out that this obscure girl is ...
— Beatrice • H. Rider Haggard

... was converted to Christianity in his old age, about 360 A.D. The story of his conversion, and the joy which it caused in the Christian community, is told by St. Augustine[188]. He was a deep thinker of the speculative mystical type, but a clumsy and obscure writer, in spite of his rhetorical training. His importance lies in his position as the first Christian Neoplatonist who wrote ...
— Christian Mysticism • William Ralph Inge

... and secured a British Protectorate over Asiatic Turkey. No opportunity could have seemed better for the promotion of Zionist aims, but when Laurence Oliphant pointed this out he found scarcely an echo beyond a small circle of obscure Jewish dreamers in Southern Russia.[119] Indeed, until the time of Herzl all the most prominent protagonists of Zionism were Christians. The Dane, Holger Paulli, who in 1697 presented a Zionist scheme to King William III of England with a view to its submission to the Peace Conference ...
— Notes on the Diplomatic History of the Jewish Question • Lucien Wolf

... move fast enough. Their only other arms seemed to be bows and arrows. The march was a very weary one, and through a wild, mountainous country which would have been impassable for men who did not know it thoroughly. Occasionally they seemed to be following obscure paths, but as often there was no sign of a track, and the thick, tropical vegetation made progress difficult. For an hour or two they climbed up the half-dry bed of a mountain torrent, and more than once they were ankle-deep in swampy ...
— Captain Jinks, Hero • Ernest Crosby



Words linked to "Obscure" :   uncomprehensible, unclear, concealed, incomprehensible, inglorious, unsung, efface, reduce, mystify, linguistics, unconnected, alter, obliterate, modify, change, confound, conceal, invisible, inconspicuous, obscurity, muddy, overshadow



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