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  • Adj.

nebulous

NEB-yuh-luhs

Context
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We have a new boss, whose unclear, nebulous title of “Vice President of Management Affairs” tells little about what he actually does. One theory is that he is the nephew of our CEO, and was given this job with scattered, unlisted, and nebulous duties so that he can sound important while not doing anything demanding. When he asks what we’re doing at the office, we give him vague, indefinite, nebulous answers designed to stop further questions.

Quiz: When is something nebulous?

  • When it is uncertain or undefined.
  • When it insults your intelligence.
  • When it intrudes upon a current structure.
Definition

Memory Hook
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Bolus Know-How So just how am I supposed to get that bolus down that fire-breathing bull's throat again? I think that you are being a bit too nebulous about the details of the procedure--why don't you do it yourself? Note: a "bolus" is a large pill.

Examples
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  • Sammy Sosa: He raised suspicion by bulking up, boosting his home run production and then giving nebulous testimony before Congress in 2005. —USA Today
  • This is the case because being genuinely religious is so difficult — for one thing, it requires that we avoid the twin pitfalls of vague and nebulous 'spirituality' on the one hand, and rigid, unthinking 'dogma' on the other. —Newsvine
  • The Lions are not really high enough in the draft to go for a franchise quarterback, especially since that overworked term is meaningless, referring to this nebulous position. —Sports Illustrated
  • Responsible development is critical, but ignoring the need for this technology in the face of nebulous and poorly defined fears would be truly hazardous. —Los Angeles Times

Word Ingredients
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nebul mist, cloud
-ous possessing the nature of

Something nebulous “possesses the nature of mist or a cloud.”

Word Theater
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Deconstructing Henry Henry's physical appearance is becoming somewhat nebulous.
Nebulous

Word Constellation
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Nebulous