AskDefine | Define obfuscate

Dictionary Definition

obfuscate v : make obscure or unclear [ant: clarify]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • a RP /ˈɒbfʌskeɪt/
  • a US /ˈɑːbfʌskeɪt/|/ˈɑːbfəskeɪt/


  1. To make dark; overshadow
  2. To deliberately make more confusing in order to conceal the truth.
    Before leaving the scene, the murderer set a fire to obfuscate any evidence of his or her identity.
  3. To alter code while preserving its behavior but conceal its structure and intent.
    We need to obfuscate these classes before we ship the final release.



to make dark
to deliberately make more confusing
to alter code

Extensive Definition

Obfuscation is the concealment of meaning in communication, making it confusing and harder to interpret.
Obfuscation may be used for many purposes. Doctors have been accused of using jargon to conceal unpleasant facts from a patient. American author Michael Crichton has claimed that medical writing is a "highly skilled, calculated attempt to confuse the reader". B. F. Skinner, noted psychologist, commented on medical notation as a form of multiple audience control which allows the doctor to communicate to the pharmacist things which might be opposed by the patient if they could understand it. Similarly text-based language, like gyaru-moji and some forms of leet are obfuscated to make them incomprehensible to outsiders.
In cryptography, obfuscation refers to encoding the input data before it is sent to a hash function or other encryption scheme. This technique helps to make brute force attacks unfeasible, as it is difficult to determine the correct cleartext.
In network security, obfuscation refers to methods used to obscure an attack payload from inspection by network protection systems.


obfuscate in German: Verschleierung
obfuscate in Spanish: Ofuscación
obfuscate in Simple English: Obfuscation

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

adumbrate, becloud, bedarken, bedim, befog, begloom, black, black out, blacken, blanket, blind, block the light, blot out, blur, brown, camouflage, cast a shadow, cloak, cloud, cloud over, complicate, conceal, confuse, corrupt, cover, cover up, curtain, darken, darken over, deform, dim, dim out, disguise, disorder, dissemble, distort, distract attention from, eclipse, encloud, encompass with shadow, ensconce, enshroud, envelop, fog up, garble, gloom, gloss over, hide, jumble, keep under cover, make unintelligible, mask, mess up, misadvise, misdirect, miseducate, misguide, misinform, misinstruct, mislead, misteach, muddle, murk, mystify, obnubilate, obscure, obumbrate, occult, occultate, overcast, overcloud, overshadow, pervert, scramble, screen, shade, shadow, shroud, slur over, somber, unform, unshape, varnish, veil, whitewash
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