Weekly Word – Obfuscate

Weekly Word is a weekly post intended to illustrate the meaning and use of a single word. The chosen word will begin with a different letter each week, as Louise (my daughter) and I work our way through the alphabet.

Louise posts on her website:

An Enchanted Place

This week’s word begins with the letter O:

Part of Speech:

Verb (transitive)

Meaning: 

1.  to obscure, make unclear, or darken

2 . to bewilder confuse or stupefy

(often intentionally in both definitions – other than in natural processes of darkening e.g. nightfall, severe weather conditions)

Pronunciation:

ob·fus·cate

ob-fuh-skeyt, ob-fuhs-keyt,

Audio Link:

OBFUSCATE

Related Forms:

obfuscation

obfuscatory

obfuscating (present participle)

obfuscates (third person singular present tense)

obfuscated (past tense)

Synonyms:

1.  obscure  bedim  dim  make obscure  dull  blur  muddle  jumble  muddy  cloud  befog muddy the waters  overcast  shadow

2.  bewilder  mystify  confuse  puzzle  perplex  baffle  complicate  confound  bemuse befuddle  nonplus  flummox  rattle

Antonyms:

clarify  elucidate

Word Origin:

Late Middle English (1525-35) from late Latin obfuscat meaning darkened, from the verb obfuscare, based on Latin  ob + fusc(us ) dark 

The Merriam Webster dictionary gives this extra piece of information, which I particularly like:

“The verb shares its ob- root (meaning “over, completely”) with obscure,  another word that can refer to the act of concealing something or making it more difficult to see or understand. The rest of obfuscate comes from Latin fuscus, which means “dark brown” and is distantly related to our word dusk.”

Use the Word in a Sentence: 

1.  Gelda quickened her pace as a thick fog closed in around her, gradually obfuscating the narrow path through the forest, the only route that would take her safely home. If her mother had not obfuscated about the whereabouts of Gelda’s father, they would never have had that awful row and she would not have run off into these woods in the first place.

2.  Jeremy often looked back on his schooldays, recalling how he’d hated most of the teachers. Admittedly he’d been a mischievous lad and learning had never been easy for him – but that didn’t excuse the way they all seemed to deliberately resort to obfuscation when he asked them to explain things he didn’t understand. Yet Jeremy would always remember the kindness of one of his earliest teachers. Mrs Willows’ lessons were never obfuscatory and she was always happy to spend time explaining things to him. If more of his teachers had been like her, perhaps he would have made something of himself in life instead of drifting from one dead-end job to another. Too late to do anything about it now; he was almost forty, after all.… Or was it too late? Perhaps a few classes at night school would get him some useful qualifications. Then, if called for job interviews, the questions he was asked would not obfuscate him as much as they’d done in the past.

3.  Inspector Davis, let me be clear on this. You’re suggesting that all the witnesses have lied throughout police investigations and this trial in order to deliberately obfuscate matters?’

***

If you would like to join us in doing this weekly post, both Louise and I would be happy to see you. You can pick your own word and illustrate its use in any way you choose (even a short story) or use your chosen word to follow a similar pattern to our posts.

shutterstock_558169333
Image  from Shutterstock

9 thoughts on “Weekly Word – Obfuscate

    1. It’s an interesting word, Arv, and one that’s getting quite a bit of use lately – particularly in reference to certain politicians who are remarkably good at obfuscating important issues.

  1. This word only came to my mind recently, Jill. It’s being bandied about a lot at the moment, thanks to the repeated obfuscation of politicians regarding Covid-19 restrictions!

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