Definition of nebulous in English:

nebulous

adjective

  • 1In the form of a cloud or haze; hazy.

    ‘a giant nebulous glow’
    • ‘A thick, nebulous haze, caused by the manufacturing process, pervaded everywhere, revealing sparks and the blindingly bright radiance of welding from time to time.’
    • ‘It expanded into a nebulous circle of shifting light.’
    • ‘Where others in this vein opt for a hazy, nebulous cloud of half-remembered dreams, Manitoba's music is direct and unassuming while still remaining evocative.’
    • ‘Smudges like this are called nebulae, because they look nebulous - like hazy clouds.’
    • ‘He nimbly steers his magic carpet through the nebulous and confusing post-modern clouds of the internet.’
    indistinct, indefinite, unclear, vague, hazy, cloudy, fuzzy, misty, lacking definition, blurred, blurry, out of focus, foggy, faint, shadowy, dim, obscure, shapeless, formless, unformed, amorphous
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1
      another term for nebular
      • ‘It has few distinguishable stars and is mainly notable for a nebulous, cloud-like cluster which ancient astronomers regarded as an area where energies were dissipated.’
      • ‘Twenty five years ago, the nebulous gas entombing the dying star at the centre was not hot enough to glow.’
      • ‘Shapley noted that nebulous objects tended to be everywhere except in the Milky Way plane.’
      • ‘The billions of years believed necessary for the earth to evolve from some nebulous mass simply evaporate when confronted by such evidence.’
      • ‘The Pleiades is a nebulous cluster of stars, all contained within one degree of longitude, located on the shoulder of the Bull.’
  • 2(of a concept) vague or ill-defined.

    ‘nebulous concepts like quality of life’
    • ‘This is the first in a series that explores the nebulous connection between modern art and cartooning.’
    • ‘Having spent many years ‘dabbling in the history of ideas,’ we are well aware that the term ‘postmodern’ is a nebulous concept.’
    • ‘That's the reassurance I want, not this nebulous approach.’
    • ‘Nowadays they want something far more nebulous, which is celebrity.’
    • ‘Ultimately, it's not politics that makes the world go round but generosity, but for a lot of people that's a very nebulous concept.’
    • ‘Of course, this risks the subordination of personal freedom to some nebulous concept of public good.’
    • ‘Goals have to be defined and solid, otherwise they are nebulous - like clouds.’
    • ‘But can I ask you - and this is a bit of a nebulous question I suppose - but what do you think of when the term ‘respect’ comes up?’
    • ‘Most irritating of all, I'm finding that my brain is absolutely unable to cope with vague, nebulous concepts or ideas.’
    • ‘Discretion is a nebulous thing, each case is different and what we are saying is that the HSE doesn't appear to look at cases individually.’
    • ‘Yet dark energy is a nebulous concept, one that has thus far flummoxed some of the smartest researchers on the planet.’
    • ‘Why do you think scientists have been reluctant to grapple with this nebulous notion of the human mind?’
    • ‘The focus is on ‘experience’, which is a bit nebulous in comparison to a conference on technology or design, but that's what makes it fun and interesting.’
    • ‘Yet there are dinosaurs who take a dim view of such a plan, their highly specious argument revolving around the nebulous concept of loyalty.’
    • ‘Rock ‘n’ roll, however, is a most nebulous phenomenon.’
    • ‘At the end of the day, after two hours of ‘debate’, it emerged that what people wanted was that nebulous old chestnut, ‘freedom of choice’.’
    • ‘That's a much more nebulous and difficult question.’
    • ‘No doubt there'll be some spurious, nebulous rhetoric about rights and responsibilities, respect, choice and other such middle class emollients.’
    • ‘He did not peer through a hazy lens into a nebulous future.’
    • ‘He is adamant that this week he wants us to take immediate actions and clearly report what we see and do, rather than just speculate and make nebulous plans for the future.’
    • ‘Instead, they invented this nebulous concept of the ‘public domain’ that no one owns.’
    • ‘For nebulous, ambiguous speculation, nothing comes close to this work.’
    vague, ill-defined, unclear, hazy, uncertain, indefinite, indeterminate, imprecise, unformed, muddled, confused, ambiguous, inchoate, opaque, muddy
    View synonyms

Origin

Late Middle English (in the sense ‘cloudy’): from French nébuleux or Latin nebulosus, from nebula ‘mist’. nebulous (sense 2 of the adjective) dates from the early 19th century.

Pronunciation

nebulous

/ˈnɛbjʊləs/