Word of the Day: blur

Word of the Day
July 21, 2016
blur (verb, noun)
/blɝ/  sound icon
 
A blurry photo
To blur means 'to become or cause to become hard to see or hear' and also 'to make something smeared or dirty.' It also means 'to weaken perception or senses' and 'to weaken a distinction.' As a noun, a blur is something that is seen or remembered indistinctly or a dirty mark or smear.

 

Example sentences
 
The rain on the window blurred the landscape outside.
The sounds of the traffic, the shouts of the market traders, and the thousands of conversations in the street blurred into a great mass of noise.
Emily knocked over her coffee and it spilled across the painting, blurring the picture.
The drugs blurred Edward's senses.
The line between left- and right-wing politics is becoming increasingly blurred.
Mike could just see the house as a blur in the distance.
I barely remember my childhood; it's all just a blur.
There was a blur of smoke against the sky.

 

Did you know?
 
In colloquial Singaporean English (often called Singlish), blur has a different meaning altogether. Blur, or blur-blur, is an adjective that means 'stupid, ignorant or slow to catch on': "Mark didn't do the reading for the lecture, and looked blur when the professor asked him a question." It can also mean 'confused or muddled.' Example: "I didn't sleep much last night, so I'm feeling blur." It is also used in some common phrases—for example, when Singaporeans say someone is king blur, it means they are often confused, or never know what's going on. When someone acts blur, they are playing stupid or ignorant, but aren't really. And finally, to be blur like sotang means that someone is completely in the dark about a subject (sotang is Malay for 'squid').
 
Other forms
 
blurry (adjective), blurred (adjective)
 
Origin
 
Both the verb and the noun were first used in the mid-16th century, and meant 'smear on the surface of writing.' The origin of the word is uncertain, but some think it could be related to blear, which dates back to 1300 (it was spelled blere back then) and meant 'watery, rheumy.' It is related to the Middle High German word blerre, which meant 'having blurred vision.'
 
 
 
 
 
Blur in other languages
 
 
 
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