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From Middle English unclere, equivalent to un- +‎ clear. Compare Saterland Frisian uunkloor (unclear), West Frisian ûnklear (inoperative, broken), Dutch onklaar (out of order, defective, broken), German unklar (unclear), Danish uklar (unclear), Swedish oklar (unclear).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ʌnˈklɪə(ɹ)/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ʌnˈklɪɚ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪə(ɹ)


unclear (comparative unclearer or more unclear, superlative unclearest or most unclear)

  1. Ambiguous; liable to more than one interpretation.
    The remark she made comparing her life with that of a fish was unclear.
  2. Not clearly or explicitly defined.
  3. Not easy to see or read; indecipherable or unreadable.
    From such a long distance away, the name on the signpost was unclear.
  4. Not having a clear idea; uncertain.
    I'm still unclear about what she meant by that remark.

Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


unclear (third-person singular simple present unclears, present participle unclearing, simple past and past participle uncleared)

  1. (transitive, rare) To undo the process of clearing.
    • 1998, Jeffrey J. Mayer, ACT! 4 for Windows for Dummies, page xx:
      Clearing, unclearing and deleting activities
    • 2012, Gerald DeJong, Investigating Explanation-Based Learning, page 108:
      [] finally [the block] would be cleared and remain that way until moved. Although this clearing and unclearing can occur repeatedly, the current BAGGER algorithm is unable to generalize number within unwindable subproofs.