Definition of oblique in English:



  • 1Neither parallel nor at right angles to a specified or implied line; slanting.

    ‘we sat on the settee oblique to the fireplace’
    • ‘Those cars then have to get back out at an oblique angle across two opposing lanes of traffic creating - yes you've guessed it - more traffic-flow difficulties.’
    • ‘A large, angular semi-pelite clast contains two tectonic fabrics, one of which is parallel to bedding within the clast whereas the other is oblique to it.’
    • ‘Five other works focus on shadow pictures created by bright light cast at an oblique angle across various relief materials attached to the wall.’
    • ‘In addition, Lee designers express the theme with ‘unfinished design’ which includes handicraft style, oblique neckline and patchwork.’
    • ‘The oblique angles of the architecture and its tilted-up floors - both old conventions - further expand the visible space within the painting.’
    • ‘In this watershed sequence, the oblique angles and edgy camerawork signal the presence of Jeffrey's gaze as his invisible aura surrounds Susan in her destitution.’
    • ‘Mounted on the wall at eye level, Enantiomorphic Chambers consists of two cubic structures, each with a mirror projecting at an oblique angle and placed so that the mirrors face each other.’
    • ‘Fortunately, it came in at an oblique angle and skipped off his mail, ripping a huge tear in his poncho without inflicting any other damage.’
    • ‘His face, turned at an oblique angle from the camera, is unreadable.’
    • ‘Trabs rise upward parallel to or slightly oblique to excurrent canals and form regular ladder-like structure.’
    • ‘Higher up, the petioles bend away from the pseudostem to hold the huge oval leaves at an oblique angle.’
    • ‘I took particular pleasure in the oblique angles.’
    • ‘Take care where you place your camera: if you are taking pictures early in the morning try placing it at oblique angles to the sun - this will give your images strong shadows.’
    • ‘An oblique stroke or virgule is a symbol used in differing circumstances to create different meanings.’
    • ‘In older well-elongated cells, part of the immobile mitochondria is already arranged along parallel lines transverse or oblique to the cell axis.’
    • ‘It only becomes recognisable when viewed from a very oblique angle, by standing practically alongside the left-hand edge of the painting.’
    • ‘Entocristid and oblique crests run parallel in a longitudinal direction.’
    • ‘Quick as a flash, the little Italian was there to steal the ball and hook it into the net from an oblique angle.’
    • ‘Loading was performed at the beginning of the light period by cutting the end of a mature source leaf at an oblique angle and inserting it into a fluorescein-filled 100 l capillary.’
    • ‘The oblique crest tends to be parallel to the lingual border.’
    slanting, slanted, sloping, at an angle, angled, diagonal, aslant, slant, slantwise, sloped, inclined, inclining, tilted, tilting, atilt, skew, on the skew, askew
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    1. 1.1Geometry (of a line, plane figure, or surface) inclined at other than a right angle.
      • ‘The orientation of the projection surface can be normal (inline with the earth's axis), transverse (at right angles to the earth's axis) or oblique (any angle in between).’
      • ‘The problem of scattering of an obliquely incident plane acoustic wave from an infinite solid elastic clad rod is formulated.’
      • ‘Oblique drawings have one axis along the horizontal line.’
    2. 1.2Geometry (of an angle) acute or obtuse.
      • ‘Oblique angles are of two kinds, acute and obtuse.’
      • ‘In the hypothesis of acute angle, we can, find a perpendicular and an oblique to the same straight which never meet.’
      • ‘Angles are either right, acute, or oblique.’
    3. 1.3Geometry (of a cone, cylinder, etc.) with an axis not perpendicular to the plane of its base.
      • ‘Three unequal axes that intersect at oblique angles.’
      • ‘Pyramids that are not right are called oblique.’
      • ‘Since the triangle ABC has an oblique shape, as the first step, the triangle is redefined to a shape where the integration basis remains same as ABD.’
    4. 1.4Anatomy (especially of a muscle) neither parallel nor perpendicular to the long axis of a body or limb.
      ‘an oblique abdominal muscle’
      • ‘He was expected to miss camp time with a strained oblique muscle, which didn't help his chances of making the roster.’
      • ‘Sportsman's hernia is the name given to an occult hernia due to a tear in the external oblique muscle.’
      • ‘He had been sidelined for almost a month by a strained left oblique muscle that was causing persistent pain in his side.’
      • ‘He was expected to miss at least one spring start with a strained oblique muscle, though the injury is not considered serious.’
      • ‘This positioning helps in the toning of the oblique muscles, the muscles that let you twist side to side.’
  • 2Not expressed or done in a direct way.

    ‘he issued an oblique attack on the President’
    • ‘The carpets placed on the floor seemed to be an oblique reference to the manner in which women are still walked all over in many parts of the world.’
    • ‘Yet it is possible to approach this problem in an oblique manner.’
    • ‘An early example of this may be found in Bentham's writings, and his distinction between direct and oblique intention is one way of expressing the point.’
    • ‘The search engine also acts, in an oblique manner, as an anti-censorship tool.’
    • ‘In fact, when one considers the oblique twists, unexpected turns and apparently random decisions that have characterised his career, then a home in the Highlands village actually seems somehow inevitable.’
    • ‘They were protest films, with calls direct rather than oblique.’
    • ‘As always, my answer is rather long and rambling, and approaches the topic in a very oblique manner.’
    • ‘Through humour, satire, and a range of experiments with language, the collection offers an oblique commentary on Caribbean society.’
    • ‘Throughout the article the members made both direct and oblique references to the English heritage on Long Island.’
    • ‘But this Mr McGlyn's story actually has some oblique relevance to these remarks, because I do want to open with a ‘what if’ scenario.’
    • ‘The instrumentation is acoustic guitar plus woodwinds and strings - meandering arrangements, oblique lyrics, and his vocal style is pretty full on, so right up my alley.’
    • ‘This first of many direct and oblique connections between the two poets takes considerable ballsyness on the younger Berrigan's part, but it all pays off in the end.’
    • ‘However wonderful your foster parent may seem, nothing can equal your real mother, an oblique metaphor to those youngsters who believe in leading a fast-track life, thanks to the Western influences.’
    • ‘Watching it now it seems even stranger that its oblique characters and elliptical, alien scenes of remote mountain-town malaise managed to hypnotise so many people for two series.’
    • ‘He might argue that he is not interested in the social realism of the past and that only this oblique, indirect manner of telling a story is appropriate to our ‘new global reality’ and new media, and so forth.’
    • ‘Before history could even repeat itself in some oblique manner, McLeish seems set to seek outside assistance.’
    • ‘The painting suggests deeply considered feeling, transparent and mysterious, direct and oblique.’
    • ‘Recently he has dropped oblique hints about the frustrations and pressures of satisfying the club's aspirations, but he would consider prolonged exposure to the Champions League hugely stimulating.’
    • ‘The church contended that since the association's petition had an oblique motive to ‘prevent a religious minority institution from pursuing its religious activities’.’
    indirect, inexplicit, roundabout, circuitous, circumlocutory, implicit, implied, elliptical, evasive, backhanded
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  • 3Grammar
    Denoting any case other than the nominative or vocative.

    • ‘The subject nominal is in the oblique form and the verb phrase lacks tense and agreement markers.’
    • ‘The Gerund and the Gerundive are used, in the oblique cases, in many of the constructions of nouns.’
    • ‘One links the subject of the dependent clause with the oblique dative argument of the independent clause.’
    • ‘The genitive, dative, and accusative are called oblique cases to distinguish them from the nominative and vocative.’


  • 1British

    another term for slash (sense 2 of the noun)
    slash, forward slash, solidus, oblique stroke, backslash, diagonal, virgule, slant
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  • 2An oblique muscle.

    ‘it is the obliques and abdominals which create the well-trained look’
    • ‘Muscles, particularly those of the abdomen (the obliques, transversus, and recti) provide dynamic stability and fine control to the spine.’
    • ‘This exercise strengthens the obliques, quadratus lumborum, back extensors, gluteals, adductors and core abdominal muscles.’
    • ‘All these exercises target your core muscles: rectus, obliques and transverse abdominals.’
    • ‘Twisting crunches target both the upper rectus and the external obliques, the muscles on each side of the torso attached to the lower two-thirds of the rib cage and inserting on the side of the pelvis.’
    • ‘This exercise strengthens the hip flexors, back extensors, obliques and core abdominal muscles.’


Late Middle English: from Latin obliquus.