comes from the Latin word nebulosus
, meaning "misty," which in turn comes from nebula
, meaning "mist," "fog," or "cloud." In the 18th century, English speakers borrowed nebula
and gave it a somewhat more specific meaning than the Latin version. In English, nebula
refers to a cloud of gas or dust in deep space, or in less technical contexts, simply to a galaxy. Nebulous
itself, when it doesn't have interstellar
implications, usually means "cloudy" or "foggy" in a figurative sense.
One's memory of a long-past event, for example,
will often be nebulous; a
teenager might give a nebulous recounting of an evening's events upon
coming home; or a politician might make a campaign promise but give only
a nebulous description of how he or she would fulfill it.
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