vague

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
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See also: vagué

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle French vague, from Latin vagus (uncertain, vague, literally wandering, rambling, strolling).

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /veɪɡ/
  • IPA(key): (Upper Midwest US) /væɡ/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪɡ, -æɡ

Adjective[edit]

vague (comparative vaguer, superlative vaguest)

  1. Not clearly expressed; stated in indefinite terms.
    • 1921, Bertrand Russell, The Analysis of Mind:
      It follows from what has been said that a vague thought has more likelihood of being true than a precise one. To try and hit an object with a vague thought is like trying to hit the bull's eye with a lump of putty: when the putty reaches the target, it flattens out all over it, and probably covers the bull's eye along with the rest. To try and hit an object with a precise thought is like trying to hit the bull's eye with a bullet. The advantage of the precise thought is that it distinguishes between the bull's eye and the rest of the target.
    • 2004: Chris Wallace, Character: Profiles in Presidential Courage
      Throughout the first week of his presidency, Dulles and Bissell continued to brief Kennedy on their strategy for Cuba, but the men were vague and their meetings offered little in the way of hard facts.
    Synonyms: inarticulate, unclear; see also Thesaurus:incomprehensible
  2. Not having a precise meaning.
    a vague term of abuse
    Synonyms: ambiguous, equivocal
  3. Not clearly defined, grasped, or understood; indistinct; slight.
    only a vague notion of what’s needed
    a vague hint of a thickening waistline
    I haven’t the vaguest idea.
    Synonyms: ambiguous, equivocal, indistinct, obscure; see also Thesaurus:vague
  4. Not clearly felt or sensed; somewhat subconscious.
    a vague longing
  5. Not thinking or expressing one’s thoughts clearly or precisely.
    • 1962, Philip Larkin, "Toads Revisited"
      Waxed-fleshed out-patients / Still vague from accidents, / And characters in long coats / Deep in the litter-baskets []
    Synonym: dazed
  6. Lacking expression; vacant.
    Synonyms: vacant, vacuous
  7. Not sharply outlined; hazy.
    • 1922, Michael Arlen, “Ep./1/2”, in “Piracy”: A Romantic Chronicle of These Days:
      He walked. To the corner of Hamilton Place and Picadilly, and there stayed for a while, for it is a romantic station by night. The vague and careless rain looked like threads of gossamer silver passing across the light of the arc-lamps.
    Synonyms: fuzzy, hazy, ill-defined; see also Thesaurus:indistinct
  8. Wandering; vagrant; vagabond.
    Synonyms: erratic, roaming, unsettled, vagrant, vagabond

Related terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Noun[edit]

vague (plural vagues)

  1. (obsolete) A wandering; a vagary.
  2. An indefinite expanse.

Verb[edit]

vague (third-person singular simple present vagues, present participle vaguing, simple past and past participle vagued)

  1. (archaic) to wander; to roam; to stray.
    • 1603, Philemon Holland (translator), The Philosophie, commonly called, the Morals
      [The soul] doth vague and wander.
  2. To become vague or act in a vague manner.
    • 1894, Mrs. Campbell Praed, Christina Chard, page 52:
      Vaguely, yes. I've vagued all my life; that's been my curse.
    • 1939, John Steinbeck, East of Eden:
      A man's mind vagued up a little, for how can you remember the feel of pleasure or pain or choking emotion?
    • 2009, Zoe Foster Blake, Air Kisses, →ISBN:
      What's with you? You're all vagued out.

Further reading[edit]


Catalan[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Latin vagus.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

vague (feminine vaga, masculine and feminine plural vagues)

  1. vague

Derived terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]


French[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle French [Term?], from Old French vague (movement on the surface of a liquid, ripple), from Old Norse vágr (sea), from Proto-Germanic *wēgaz (wave, storm), from Proto-Indo-European *weǵʰ- (to drag, carry). Cognate with Swedish våg (wave), Middle Dutch waeghe, wage (wave), Old High German wāge (wave), Old English wǣg (wave, billow, motion, flood). More at waw, wave.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

vague f (plural vagues)

  1. wave
    • 2014, Indila, Comme un bateau
      Un peu comme un bateau qui trouve son équilibre entre les vagues et le chaos
      A little like a boat that finds its equilibrium between waves and chaos
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle French vague, from Latin vagus (uncertain, vague, literally wandering, rambling, strolling). Possibly a doublet of gai.

Adjective[edit]

vague (plural vagues)

  1. vague

Noun[edit]

vague m (plural vagues)

  1. vagueness
    Synonym: distrait
Derived terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]


Galician[edit]

Verb[edit]

vague

  1. first/third-person singular present subjunctive of vagar

Portuguese[edit]

Verb[edit]

vague

  1. first-person singular (eu) present subjunctive of vagar
  2. third-person singular (ele and ela, also used with você and others) present subjunctive of vagar
  3. third-person singular (você) affirmative imperative of vagar
  4. third-person singular (você) negative imperative of vagar

Spanish[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /ˈbaɡe/, [ˈba.ɣ̞e]

Verb[edit]

vague

  1. First-person singular (yo) present subjunctive form of vagar.
  2. Formal second-person singular (usted) present subjunctive form of vagar.
  3. Third-person singular (él, ella, also used with usted?) present subjunctive form of vagar.