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.’
    • ‘He nimbly steers his magic carpet through the nebulous and confusing post-modern clouds of the internet.’
    • ‘It expanded into a nebulous circle of shifting light.’
    • ‘Smudges like this are called nebulae, because they look nebulous - like hazy clouds.’
    • ‘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.’
    indistinct, indefinite, unclear, vague, hazy, cloudy, fuzzy, misty, lacking definition, blurred, blurry, out of focus, foggy, faint, shadowy, dim, obscure, shapeless, formless, unformed, amorphous
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    1. 1.1 (of a concept or idea) unclear, vague, or ill-defined.
      ‘nebulous concepts like quality of life’
      • ‘That's the reassurance I want, not this nebulous approach.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This is the first in a series that explores the nebulous connection between modern art and cartooning.’
      • ‘For nebulous, ambiguous speculation, nothing comes close to this work.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘No doubt there'll be some spurious, nebulous rhetoric about rights and responsibilities, respect, choice and other such middle class emollients.’
      • ‘Yet dark energy is a nebulous concept, one that has thus far flummoxed some of the smartest researchers on the planet.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘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’.’
      • ‘Most irritating of all, I'm finding that my brain is absolutely unable to cope with vague, nebulous concepts or ideas.’
      • ‘Yet there are dinosaurs who take a dim view of such a plan, their highly specious argument revolving around the nebulous concept of loyalty.’
      • ‘Of course, this risks the subordination of personal freedom to some nebulous concept of public good.’
      • ‘Why do you think scientists have been reluctant to grapple with this nebulous notion of the human mind?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘That's a much more nebulous and difficult question.’
      • ‘Having spent many years ‘dabbling in the history of ideas,’ we are well aware that the term ‘postmodern’ is a nebulous concept.’
      • ‘Instead, they invented this nebulous concept of the ‘public domain’ that no one owns.’
      • ‘He did not peer through a hazy lens into a nebulous future.’
      • ‘Nowadays they want something far more nebulous, which is celebrity.’
      vague, ill-defined, unclear, hazy, uncertain, indefinite, indeterminate, imprecise, unformed, muddled, confused, ambiguous, inchoate, opaque, muddy
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    2. 1.2
      another term for nebular
      • ‘The billions of years believed necessary for the earth to evolve from some nebulous mass simply evaporate when confronted by such evidence.’
      • ‘Twenty five years ago, the nebulous gas entombing the dying star at the centre was not hot enough to glow.’
      • ‘The Pleiades is a nebulous cluster of stars, all contained within one degree of longitude, located on the shoulder of the Bull.’
      • ‘Shapley noted that nebulous objects tended to be everywhere except in the Milky Way plane.’
      • ‘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.’

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

/ˈnebyələs//ˈnɛbjələs/