See also: Murky


Alternative formsEdit


From Middle English mirky; equivalent to murk +‎ -y. Related to Old Norse myrkr, Russian мрак (mrak), Serbo-Croatian мра̑к.


  • IPA(key): /ˈmɜː(ɹ)ki/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɜː(ɹ)ki


murky (comparative murkier, superlative murkiest)

  1. Hard to see through, as a fog or mist.
  2. Dark, dim, gloomy.
    • 1610–1611 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tempest”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act IV, scene i], page 14:
      Ferdinand: As I hope / For quite dayes, faire Iſſue, and long life, / With ſuch loue, as 'tis now the murkieſt den, / The moſt opportune place, the ſtrongſt ſuggeſtion, / Our worſer Genius can, shall neuer melt / Mine honor into luſt, []
  3. Cloudy, indistinct, obscure.
    murky territory
    • 2021 April 21, Anatoly Liberman, “Going out on a Limb”, in Oxford Etymologist[1]:
      They may face an impenetrable word, approach its murky history from every direction, and fail to find a convincing solution (or even any solution: “origin unknow,” “the rest is unclear,” and the like).
    • 2022 October 28, Maria Cramer, “Beaches? Cruises? ‘Dark’ Tourists Prefer the Gloomy and Macabre”, in The New York Times[2], ISSN 0362-4331:
      Mr. Farrier, 39, said he often questioned the moral implications of his trips. “It’s very ethically murky territory,” Mr. Farrier said.
    • 2022 December 23, Keith Bradsher; Amy Chang Chien; Joy Dong, “As Cases Explode, China’s Low Covid Death Toll Convinces No One”, in The New York Times[3], ISSN 0362-4331:
      China’s murky statistics are fueling widespread public distrust. Its narrow definition of Covid deaths “will very much underestimate the true death toll,” the W.H.O. says.
  4. (by extension) Dishonest, shady.


Related termsEdit


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Further readingEdit