To deliberately make something unclear or difficult to understand, often by using complex language or confusing ideas.


US English

UK English

Part of speech



confuse, muddy, obscure, befog, cloud, complicate, garble, jumble, muddle, perplex, puzzle


clarify, simplify, elucidate, explain, explicate, illuminate, reveal, unscramble, untangle, unveil

Example sentences

  • The politician tried to obfuscate the issue by using technical terms and legal jargon that most people couldn’t understand.

  • The company’s financial statements were deliberately obfuscated to hide their losses from investors.

  • He was accused of obfuscating the truth during his testimony by giving vague and evasive answers.

  • The professor’s lecture was so obfuscated that most of the students left the class more confused than when they arrived.

  • The defense attorney attempted to obfuscate the facts of the case by introducing irrelevant information and questioning the credibility of the prosecution’s witnesses.


The word “obfuscate” comes from the Latin “obfuscatus,” which means “darkened” or “obscured.” It is often used to describe intentional efforts to make something difficult to understand or to hide the truth.

Obfuscation can take many forms, including using complicated language, confusing ideas, or withholding information. People or organizations may obfuscate for various reasons, such as to avoid accountability, to protect their reputation, or to maintain power and control. In politics, obfuscation is sometimes used to obscure issues or to deflect criticism. In business, obfuscation can be used to hide financial losses or other negative aspects of a company’s operations.

The word “obfuscate” can be used in a variety of contexts, such as in academic writing, political commentary, or legal proceedings. It is often used to describe the deliberate use of complexity to confuse or deceive others. The word is also sometimes used in a more general sense to describe anything that is unclear or difficult to understand.

There are some variations of the word, such as “obfuscated” and “obfuscation,” which are commonly used to describe the act of obfuscating or the state of being obfuscated. The prefix “ob-” means “against” or “in the way of,” while the root “fusc” comes from the Latin “fuscus,” which means “dark” or “dusky.” This suggests that the word “obfuscate” can be thought of as a deliberate attempt to darken or obscure something.