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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Vagueness \Vague"ness\, n. The quality or state of being vague.


n. 1 (context uncountable English) The condition of being unclear; vague. 2 (context countable English) Something which is vague, or an instance or example of vagueness.


n. unclearness by virtue of being vague


In analytic philosophy and linguistics, a concept may be considered vague if its extension is deemed lacking in clarity, if there is uncertainty about which objects belong to the concept or which exhibit characteristics that have this predicate (so-called "border-line cases"), or if the Sorites paradox applies to the concept or predicate.

In everyday speech, vagueness is an inevitable, often even desired effect of language usage. However, in most specialized texts (e.g., legal documents), vagueness is often regarded as problematic and undesirable.

Usage examples of "vagueness".

Simon said, with a vagueness he thought should cover any story Amity Little might have come up with.

Lately, however, Mipps had been baffled by a cerain sort of vagueness in his manner, and yet on thinking it over he realized that this casual preoccupation was accompanied or closely followed by reckless high spirits.

That is where it differs also from the analogous vagueness of mere evolutionism, the idea of creatures constantly losing their shape.

Balzac does, and from this very accumulation he manages to derive that singular gigantesque vagueness --differing from the poetic vague, but ranking next to it--which I have here ventured to note as his distinguishing quality.

English questioning, although Betsy would have said in expertise in a language should lead to vagueness and in exactitudes but Stefan had, with his direct and un nuanced questions, interrogated her thoroughly.

The smoke made her eyes water, but Brother Longo was smiling at her, and then the expression of his mouth and eyes took on a quality of vagueness as his gaze slipped over her head into the crowd.

But in this affair of almsdeeds it is perhaps well to note that the Scholastics could make this much defence of their vagueness.

His mind was occupied by the strangeness of it all: these quiet, dreamy people, in their silken tunics and soft sandals, moving with aimless vagueness among the discolored ruins.

Professor Lippmann and the lady glanced at each other and then back to him, clearly puzzled by his vagueness.

The subtler of the two paratypical fields kept pushing in, and trying spread vagueness over his mind.

The birds perhaps have the best of it thus far, but the bird is limited to a small range of performances while he shifts his singing-boughs through the climates of the continent, whereas the poet, though a little inclined to mistake aspiration for inspiration, and vagueness of longing for subtlety, is experimenting in a most hopeful manner.

And the message which had begun to spell itself slothfully out from it by some multi-dimensional alchemy between his fingertips and his remembrance began to sear his brain with a lambent reality that cauterized the last limp tissues of vagueness out of his awakening.

Berkeley and Hume, in their attack on general ideas, do not allow for the vagueness of images: they assume that every image has the definiteness that a physical object would have This is not the case, and a vague image may well have a meaning which is general.

More and more did this musing spiral inwards, its vagueness and generalities crystallizing with each in­ward sweep to become definites and absolutes.

When he drops one doctrine after another in a refined scepticism, when he declines to tie himself to a system, when he says that he has outgrown definitions, when he says that he disbelieves in finality, when, in his own imagination, he sits as God, holding no form of creed but contemplating all, then he is by that very process sinking slowly backwards into the vagueness of the vagrant animals and the unconsciousness of the grass.