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A fossilised compound; from ob- +‎ *scūrus (dark), from Proto-Italic *skoiros, from Proto-Indo-European *(s)ḱeh₃i-, extension of *(s)ḱeh₃- (dark). Compare Old Irish cíar (dark) and Old English hār (grey-haired).



obscūrus (feminine obscūra, neuter obscūrum, comparative obscūrior, superlative obscūrissimus); first/second-declension adjective

  1. dark, dusky, shadowy
  2. indistinct, unintelligible, obscure
  3. intricate, involved, complicated
  4. unknown, unrecognized
  5. (of character) reserved, secret, close


First/second-declension adjective.

Number Singular Plural
Case / Gender Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative obscūrus obscūra obscūrum obscūrī obscūrae obscūra
Genitive obscūrī obscūrae obscūrī obscūrōrum obscūrārum obscūrōrum
Dative obscūrō obscūrō obscūrīs
Accusative obscūrum obscūram obscūrum obscūrōs obscūrās obscūra
Ablative obscūrō obscūrā obscūrō obscūrīs
Vocative obscūre obscūra obscūrum obscūrī obscūrae obscūra

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]



  • obscurus in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • obscurus in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • obscurus in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré Latin-Français, Hachette
  • Carl Meissner; Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[1], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • of humble, obscure origin: humilibus (obscuris) parentibus natus
    • this passage is obscure: hic (ille) locus obscurus est
    • (ambiguous) of humble, obscure origin: humili, obscuro loco natus
  • De Vaan, Michiel (2008) , “obscūrus”, in Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the other Italic Languages (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 7), Leiden, Boston: Brill, →ISBN, page 422