Definition of opacity in English:



  • 1The condition of lacking transparency or translucence; opaqueness.

    ‘thinner paints need black added to increase opacity’
    • ‘These stripes often alternate between dense opacity and a milky translucence that barely hides the underlying layers.’
    • ‘Multiple layers of nets stretched over the structural frame create a dramatic and ever-changing play of opacity and translucency as the viewer moves in and around the installation.’
    • ‘The photoinduced side effects of all these drugs were, in particular, changes in the skin pigmentation, corneal opacity, cataract formation and retinopathy.’
    • ‘The commingling of transparency and opacity is handled with remarkable skill.’
    • ‘It explains at once causticity and non-causticity, transparency and opacity, colour and the absence of colours.’
    • ‘Applying acrylics to the acetate with bamboo brushes, Stone controls viscosity and opacity while leaving the edges of the transparent film unpainted.’
    • ‘The Helena's envelope of floor-to-ceiling glass, wrap-around windows, and metal panels weaves a shimmering pattern of opacity and reflection.’
    • ‘There is a continuous interplay between transparency and white opacity, view and closure, partly because the presence of neighbours on both sides who seem too close to the client.’
    • ‘The dark glass wall, on the entrance facade, shifts between transparency and a dark, reflective opacity, depending on lighting conditions and the spectator's point of view.’
    • ‘The main body of the object absorbs light, but the cuts reflect it, and an interplay can be set up between opacity and transparency.’
    • ‘It acts as an intermediate space between the natural world and the artificial, and its effects of light and shadow, transparency, translucency and even opacity alter constantly with weather, time and season.’
    • ‘The skin of his buildings employs a full palette of optical effects - transparency, translucency, opacity and reflectivity - in a way that seems subtly integrated with the city's structure.’
    • ‘Shifting planes of various materials and degrees of opacity create spaces that expand and contract as needed.’
    • ‘Speakers at the seminar said increase in lens opacity might lead to blurred vision, sensitivity to light or glare, nearsightedness and distorted images.’
    • ‘Galia Amsel, working with translucence and opacity, pushes grey and white glass to its densest, tapering her squared slabs towards narrow, light edges.’
    • ‘Within these dense geometries, he achieved virtuosic manipulations of optically mixed color, conjuring intriguing tensions between effects of transparency and opacity, flatness and volume.’
    • ‘The Phone Tools content rendering makes use of advanced graphics techniques for image opacity, transparency, zooming and panning.’
    • ‘Although the marks she makes with her brush or palette knife are rectangular in shape, their silhouettes are broken and their surfaces easily slip from opacity into transparency.’
    • ‘The cult of transparency leads ultimately to opacity.’
    • ‘The treatment of the walls varies - in the scale of the zigzags, in colour and in opacity - in order to register the different scales and features of the adjacent landscape.’
    opaqueness, non-transparency, lack of transparency
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Obscurity of meaning.
      ‘the difficulty and opacity in Barthes' texts’
      • ‘Its crucial feature is a quality of opacity that forces us to think; it must ‘tease us out of thought’ (Keats).’
      • ‘In Reznikoff, transparency - in the mode of reportage - snowballs into opacity.’
      • ‘This is no easy feat, given the difficulty and opacity of Howe's poetry, and Back begins her introduction by addressing this very issue.’
      • ‘An Archaeology of Socialism, despite its difficult language and occasional conceptual opacity, deserves to be read.’
      • ‘To Hamann, it was obvious that the Age of Reason - which, to his mind, was an age of deepest darkness - required a prose of almost insoluble opacity.’
      • ‘Isn't our sense of the opacity of translation also the sense of the rebuffing wind in Celan's poem?’
      • ‘Despite its opacity, certain qualities of the proposed constitution shine through.’
      • ‘One indirect effect of this information opacity: spotting price anomalies is difficult at best.’


Mid 16th century: from French opacité, from Latin opacitas, from opacus darkened.