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Webster 1913 Edition


Vague

Vague

(vāg)
,
Adj.
[
Com
par.
Vaguer
(vāg′ẽr)
;
sup
erl.
Vaguest
.]
[F.
vague
, or L.
vagus
. See
Vague
,
Verb.
I.
]
1.
Wandering; vagrant; vagabond.
[Archaic]
“To set upon the vague villains.”
Hayward.
She danced along with
vague
, regardless eyes.
Keats.
2.
Unsettled; unfixed; undetermined; indefinite; ambiguous;
as, a
vague
idea; a
vague
proposition
.
This faith is neither a mere fantasy of future glory, nor a
vague
ebullition of feeling.
I. Taylor.
The poet turned away, and gave himself up to a sort of
vague
revery, which he called thought.
Hawthorne.
3.
Proceeding from no known authority; unauthenticated; uncertain; flying;
as, a
vague
report
.
Some legend strange and
vague
.
Longfellow.
Vague year
.
See
Sothiac year
, under
Sothiac
.
Syn. – Unsettled; indefinite; unfixed; ill-defined; ambiguous; hazy; loose; lax; uncertain.

Vague

,
Noun.
[Cf. F.
vague
.]
An indefinite expanse.
[R.]
The gray
vague
of unsympathizing sea.
Lowell.

Vague

,
Verb.
I.
[F.
vaguer
, L.
vagari
, fr.
vagus
roaming.]
To wander; to roam; to stray.
[Obs.]
“[The soul] doth vague and wander.”
Holland.

Vague

,
Noun.
A wandering; a vagary.
[Obs.]
Holinshed.

Webster 1828 Edition


Vague

VAGUE

,
Adj.
vag.
[L. vagus, wandering.]
1.
Wandering; vagrant; vagabond; as vague villains. [In this literal sense, not used.]
2.
Unsettled; unfixed; undetermined; indefinite. He appears to have very vague ideas of this subject.
3.
Proceeding from no known authority; flying; uncertain; as a vague report.

Definition 2022


vague

vague

See also: vagué

English

Adjective

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.
  2. Not having a precise meaning.
    a vague term of abuse
  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.
  4. Not clearly felt or sensed; somewhat subconscious.
    a vague longing
  5. Not thinking or expressing one’s thoughts clearly or precisely.
  6. Lacking expression; vacant.
  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.
  8. Wandering; vagrant; vagabond.
    • Sir John Hayward (c.1564-1627)
      to set upon the vague villains
    • John Keats (1795-1821)
      She danced along with vague, regardless eyes.

Synonyms

Related terms

Translations

Noun

vague (plural vagues)

  1. (obsolete) A wandering; a vagary.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Holinshed to this entry?)
  2. An indefinite expanse.
    • Lowell
      The gray vague of unsympathizing sea.

Verb

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

  1. To wander; to roam; to stray.
    • Holland
      [The soul] doth vague and wander.

Catalan

Etymology

From Latin vagus.

Adjective

vague m (feminine vaga, masculine and feminine plural vagues)

  1. vague

Derived terms


French

Etymology 1

From Middle French, 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 *weǵhe- (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

  • IPA(key): /vaɡ/

Noun

vague f (plural vagues)

  1. wave
Related terms

Etymology 2

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

Adjective

vague m, f (plural vagues)

  1. vague

Noun

vague m (plural vagues)

  1. vagueness
Synonyms
Related terms

Galician

Verb

vague

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

Portuguese

Verb

vague

  1. First-person singular (eu) present subjunctive of vagar
  2. Third-person singular (ele, ela, also used with tu and você?) present subjunctive of vagar
  3. First-person singular (eu) affirmative imperative of vagar
  4. Third-person singular (você) affirmative imperative of vagar
  5. Third-person singular (você) negative imperative of vagar

Spanish

Verb

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.