Definition of unclear in English:



  • 1Not easy to see, hear, or understand.

    ‘the motive for this killing is unclear’
    • ‘The language of poverty and misery is unclear and uncomfortable.’
    • ‘Though it is unclear why there should be such a marked difference, 3G masts transmit at higher frequencies.’
    • ‘Manchester Crown Court heard that the reason he was targeted was unclear and the attack could have been without motive.’
    • ‘The story is a bit unclear, but as I understand it, she was just standing at the kitchen counter when she fell on her bum.’
    • ‘It's unclear how a Segway makes it easier to stop and talk to people than say a car or bike also resting at a hotel or person's house.’
    • ‘The walkie-talkie was very hard to understand, with a lot of static, and very unclear.’
    • ‘The Indian High Commission in London said the hijackers' demands were unclear.’
    • ‘At present, several major aspects of our understanding of the northern New Zealand area are unclear.’
    • ‘How the hell I make easy use of it as a blog creator remains unclear as of my last visit to their site.’
    • ‘Given all the bureaucracy and complex or unclear rules that currently exist, this is more than welcome.’
    • ‘It was all very unclear, and I really didn't understand why they did it.’
    • ‘Exactly how they determine what is and isn't a blog is unclear.’
    • ‘Through the open doorway, he heard the voice of Aline Fulke but her words were unclear.’
    • ‘Today, these students of compassion are gone again, their identity uncertain and their aim unclear.’
    • ‘As a matter of fact the understanding is quite unclear in this area of Riba al-Fadl as well, like it is in others.’
    • ‘Her head felt muzzy and everything was so unclear… was that thunder she heard in the distance?’
    • ‘A motive for any attack is unclear but detectives are looking into both Mr Guilfoyle's private and business lives.’
    • ‘Evidence to the inquiries showed that the law and the way it was understood was unclear.’
    • ‘The exact number of ones with problems is unclear from the articles but it seems to be a handful out of many at best.’
    • ‘It remains unclear why Askar Akaev decided to leave under such humiliating circumstances.’
    uncertain, undecided, yet to be decided, unsure, unsettled, indefinite, indeterminate, unknown, unestablished, unconfirmed, unresolved, unascertained, pending, outstanding, in the balance, up in the air, speculative
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    1. 1.1Not obvious or definite; ambiguous.
      ‘their future remains unclear’
      • ‘Hence, it is unclear how much of the current rise in investor demand is merely deferred demand from the end of last year.’
      • ‘Personhood is no doubt an open-ended concept that defies philosophic analysis in unclear cases.’
      • ‘But the long-term future still remains unclear, which is something of a disappointment.’
      • ‘It's unclear how easy it is to pass on the virus between outbreaks or when you have no symptoms.’
      • ‘The clear mild waters around many of the areas hit by the tsunami have made them popular with divers and it remains unclear how many were killed.’
      • ‘However, it's unclear whether that was with his intimidators or his friends.’
      • ‘The ownership of the site is unclear, leading to difficulties in attempts to remove the Travellers.’
      • ‘The details of the incident are as yet still unclear, but it would seem that the boy began to cross the road, in front of stationary traffic.’
      • ‘Samuel's role remains unclear, but his real allegiance seems increasingly obvious.’
      • ‘However, the role of BRs in cell division remains unclear, as contradictory results have been reported.’
      • ‘The precise origin of the Royal meeting is unclear, but the first four-day meeting took place in 1768.’
      • ‘It is still unclear how the crisis between Syria and Lebanon will evolve.’
      • ‘The foundation said the effects of the spill on the island's fragile environment were still unclear.’
      • ‘At that time it was unclear whether he had a capable team around him.’
      • ‘It was unclear from the newspaper report whether Beijing is offering to pay to build the line on the Pakistani side.’
      • ‘This compromise was put by Mr Latham himself, but what's still unclear is how far Labor is determined to go.’
      • ‘The court heard it was unclear if the turkey cooking was the sole cause of the outbreak.’
      • ‘It is unclear when these steps will be taken or what they will entail.’
      • ‘It is unclear whether ADS will make it any easier for Chinese people to get visas.’
      • ‘It is also now quite unclear who actually has the final word: the European Commission or the Council of Ministers.’
      uncertain, unsure, unsettled, up in the air, debatable, open to question, in doubt, doubtful, unpredictable, unforeseeable, incalculable, speculative
      ambiguous, inexact, imprecise, inexplicit, ill-defined, equivocal, indefinite, vague, abstruse, puzzling, perplexing, mysterious, arcane, cryptic, obscure, confused, confusing, hazy, misty, foggy, fogged, clouded, lacking definition, nebulous
      iffy, dicey
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    2. 1.2Having or feeling doubt or confusion.
      ‘users are still unclear about what middleware does’
      • ‘He told the Bradford conference that fathers are unclear as to what their role should be.’
      • ‘Far too many retailers try to just ‘muddle along’, unclear about whom they are there to serve.’
      • ‘I am unclear what got me subject to this search, but I am bitter nonetheless.’
      • ‘The confusion has left employees unclear about the future, with many not able to attend this week's briefing.’
      • ‘But it was found the council was unclear about long-term ambitions and its role as a community leader.’
      • ‘Initially, the intentions of the West in intervening were muddled and unclear.’
      • ‘Perhaps the artists themselves were unclear how their works were to be understood.’
      • ‘It had vague, short-term plans and was unclear about what its top priorities were.’
      chaotic, muddled, jumbled, untidy, disordered, disorderly, disarranged, out of order, disorganized, upset, topsy-turvy, at sixes and sevens
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