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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘An oblique stroke or virgule is a symbol used in differing circumstances to create different meanings.’
    • ‘In addition, Lee designers express the theme with ‘unfinished design’ which includes handicraft style, oblique neckline and patchwork.’
    • ‘The oblique crest tends to be parallel to the lingual border.’
    • ‘His face, turned at an oblique angle from the camera, is unreadable.’
    • ‘The oblique angles of the architecture and its tilted-up floors - both old conventions - further expand the visible space within the painting.’
    • ‘Higher up, the petioles bend away from the pseudostem to hold the huge oval leaves at an oblique angle.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It only becomes recognisable when viewed from a very oblique angle, by standing practically alongside the left-hand edge of the painting.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In older well-elongated cells, part of the immobile mitochondria is already arranged along parallel lines transverse or oblique to the cell axis.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Quick as a flash, the little Italian was there to steal the ball and hook it into the net from an oblique angle.’
    • ‘I took particular pleasure in the oblique angles.’
    • ‘Five other works focus on shadow pictures created by bright light cast at an oblique angle across various relief materials attached to the wall.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Trabs rise upward parallel to or slightly oblique to excurrent canals and form regular ladder-like structure.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Entocristid and oblique crests run parallel in a longitudinal direction.’
    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).’
      • ‘Oblique drawings have one axis along the horizontal line.’
      • ‘The problem of scattering of an obliquely incident plane acoustic wave from an infinite solid elastic clad rod is formulated.’
    2. 1.2Geometry (of an angle) acute or obtuse.
      • ‘Angles are either right, acute, or oblique.’
      • ‘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.’
    3. 1.3Geometry (of a cone, cylinder, etc.) with an axis not perpendicular to the plane of its base.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Pyramids that are not right are called oblique.’
      • ‘Three unequal axes that intersect at oblique angles.’
    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 had been sidelined for almost a month by a strained left oblique muscle that was causing persistent pain in his side.’
      • ‘This positioning helps in the toning of the oblique muscles, the muscles that let you twist side to side.’
      • ‘He was expected to miss at least one spring start with a strained oblique muscle, though the injury is not considered serious.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 2Not expressed or done in a direct way.

    ‘he issued an oblique attack on the President’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘Before history could even repeat itself in some oblique manner, McLeish seems set to seek outside assistance.’
    • ‘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 painting suggests deeply considered feeling, transparent and mysterious, direct and oblique.’
    • ‘The church contended that since the association's petition had an oblique motive to ‘prevent a religious minority institution from pursuing its religious activities’.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Yet it is possible to approach this problem in an oblique manner.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They were protest films, with calls direct rather than oblique.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As always, my answer is rather long and rambling, and approaches the topic in a very oblique manner.’
    • ‘Throughout the article the members made both direct and oblique references to the English heritage on Long Island.’
    • ‘Through humour, satire, and a range of experiments with language, the collection offers an oblique commentary on Caribbean society.’
    • ‘The search engine also acts, in an oblique manner, as an anti-censorship tool.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    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’
    • ‘This exercise strengthens the obliques, quadratus lumborum, back extensors, gluteals, adductors and core abdominal muscles.’
    • ‘Muscles, particularly those of the abdomen (the obliques, transversus, and recti) provide dynamic stability and fine control to the spine.’
    • ‘This exercise strengthens the hip flexors, back extensors, obliques 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.’


Late Middle English: from Latin obliquus.