Definition of opaque in English:



  • 1Not able to be seen through; not transparent.

    ‘bottles filled with a pale opaque liquid’
    • ‘Alternatively, you might replace transparent glass with the opaque frosted or acid-etched variety.’
    • ‘Acrylic also comes in various transparent or opaque colours.’
    • ‘Out of them came only egg yolk and egg white, firm and opaque or runny and transparent to be sure, but never any sort of baby bird.’
    • ‘Beyond was a flurry of activity as men and women in white lab coats bustled around a dozen or so large, cylindrical vats containing a nearly opaque, viscous liquid.’
    • ‘Brookite is a transparent to opaque mineral that occurs in various shades of red- and yellow-brown through dark brown to black.’
    • ‘Drawings described simply as ‘watercolours’ are often found to be executed in a combination of both transparent and opaque pigments.’
    • ‘The crystals range from nearly opaque through translucent to transparent.’
    • ‘The mediums vary from high gloss to matte, transparent to opaque, bold to nuanced.’
    • ‘These consist of arrays of pixels, each made of a material that varies from being transparent to opaque depending on the size of the electrical voltage you apply to it.’
    • ‘Occasionally, they hold their hands out to the passing crowd asking for handouts, taking turns to sip an opaque liquid from a plastic container.’
    • ‘As far as the gem folks are concerned, it is not much of an exaggeration to say that they see gems as either transparent or opaque.’
    • ‘The work is viewed on a screen behind which drawings, puppets, and backdrops are illuminated using opaque and transparent projections.’
    • ‘Males immediately began displaying to one another through the transparent partition after the opaque partition was removed.’
    • ‘Although most of the beryl is fractured and opaque, a few transparent crystals have been found.’
    • ‘By now you will have a wooden container full of an insipid yellowish opaque liquid and a sieve full of mash.’
    • ‘Its refinement however, and the shifting play of the opaque and transparent, suggests descent from the traditional Japanese house.’
    • ‘Most use a combination of transparent and opaque watercolors, and their original works are about twice the size of the printed plates.’
    • ‘The surfaces of these complex, radically vertiginous paintings are built up with transparent and opaque acrylics.’
    • ‘Most are pinkish purple and range from transparent to almost opaque, the latter often being extensively cracked.’
    • ‘Redwood gazebos will look and perform best with the application of a transparent, semi-transparent or opaque finish.’
    non-transparent, cloudy, filmy, blurred, smeared, hazy, misty, dirty, dingy, muddy, muddied, grimy, smeary
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    1. 1.1(especially of language) hard or impossible to understand.
      ‘technical jargon that was opaque to her’
      • ‘The bill's language was opaque enough that opponents worried it would impact fishing, too.’
      • ‘But his tendency towards dull speeches, opaque language and meandering responses to questions almost undid him.’
      • ‘I find conversation about football utterly opaque and uninteresting.’
      • ‘But then again, it's exactly with such opaque language that committees like to dig their way out of trouble.’
      • ‘Broadly speaking, its function is to help us express and regulate our emotional lives, which are confusing and sometimes opaque to us.’
      • ‘The explanations are about as opaque to the uninitiated as the phrases themselves.’
      • ‘Online voting systems will use technology that is opaque to voters.’
      • ‘Though the differential is striking, its meaning may be somewhat opaque to non-specialists: everybody dies in the end, after all.’
      • ‘Shakespeare was an experimental writer whose business was ‘to present character in all its inaccessibility, in language at least as opaque as necessary’.’
      • ‘The Federal Reserve chairman is famous for his opaque remarks and abstruse topics.’
      • ‘Derrida neglected to discuss alternatives except in language so opaque it is impossible to decipher.’
      • ‘He believed that there do exist necessary connections in nature, even though these connections are opaque to human understanding.’
      • ‘The process isn't necessarily racist or sexist, it's just totally opaque to anyone who isn't a student politics geek.’
      • ‘This is the opaque, convoluted language quoted in the decision handed down four days ago by the current US Supreme Court.’
      • ‘Moreover, by invoking Nahuatl and speaking in tongues, he dramatizes the opaque materiality of language.’
      • ‘The existing products emphasize process and procedure and tend to be so opaque to the user that they are not trusted for speculative work.’
      • ‘The logical chain leading from recovery from illness to an understanding of the animals' language is similarly opaque.’
      • ‘Topics that had once appeared impossibly opaque to even the most determined of scholars now almost promiscuously invite inquiry and controversy.’
      • ‘I say to the Minister that someone must have thought through what that means, but it is completely opaque to me.’
      • ‘This was part of an effort to increase the transparency of hedge funds, which are notoriously opaque to investors and regulators.’


  • 1An opaque thing.

    • ‘To be honest, it's a relief when summer is over and we can get back into good old black opaques, which cover a multitude of shortcomings.’
    • ‘And to think that we used to spend the dark winter months hibernating our legs away in a cocoon of black opaques!’
    • ‘A clear liquid that instantly and permanently repairs sheer hosiery, pantyhose, tights, opaques, knee-highs, and socks, it's much more efficient than the old nail-polish fix your mom taught you.’
    1. 1.1Photography
      [mass noun]A substance for producing opaque areas on negatives.


Late Middle English opake, from Latin opacus darkened. The current spelling (rare before the 19th century) has been influenced by the French form.