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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: If your teacher provided a nebulous response to your question, how would you feel?

  • Interested because they provided new and fascinating information.
  • Insulted because they gave such a simple and basic answer.
  • Confused because they did not give you a clear answer.
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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  • 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
  • When set against the grave threat posed by climate change, the green policies favoured by economists can seem convoluted. Carbon prices, beloved of wonks, require governments to estimate the social cost of carbon emissions, a nebulous concept. —The Economist
  • Given that “levelling up” remains more of a nebulous concept than a coherent project, calculating a budget for it is more or less impossible. —The Guardian

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