“Coincidentally, on the night of the lunar eclipse – as the moon obfuscated our view of the sun – I felt like my partner was trying to obfuscate rather than enlighten me.”

What is the best definition of obfuscate?

Check your answer!

Choice A - To belie or contradict
Choice B - To obscure or perplex
Choice C - To block or interfere with
Choice D - To outshine or overshadow


Obfuscate (verb) – to make dark or unclear; to obscure; or, to confuse or perplex

GRE pro tips:

Obfuscate looks like obscure, and they are similar in both origin and meaning. The Latin ob- can mean in the way of; and when something is obscured, it is “darkened or concealed” (as if something is in the way of its clarity). Similarly, when something is obfuscated, it has been made obscure, dark, or unclear. It can refer to something that has been physically dimmed, concealed, or made less clear; e.g. during a lunar eclipse the earth obfuscates the light of the moon. 

However, obfuscate can also imply a figurative darkening, or deliberate obscuring of facts, ideas, or the truth. For instance, politicians routinely obfuscate – cloud or complicate – facts or issues, so they are muddied or lack transparency. Or, perhaps a condescending person might attempt to obfuscate – confuse or perplex – you, by using big words in lieu of a clear explanation. 

Example sentences:

“It’s far too common that spokespersons obfuscate the reality of what goes on behind closed doors.”

“I’d had enough of his lies and obfuscations; I wanted the true story about what happened the night he wrecked our car.”