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My dictionary tells me that there is no such word in English. So, what word would you substitute for unclearity below (please, don't change anything else):

— There is still something not clear to me in this business. How do they get their profits back if they themselves never come back?
— Well, this unclearity was in fact the very reason why I decided to call this meeting tonight.

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9 Answers 9

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned "unclarity", which is the word I would use.

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@Colin Fine - Oh boy! It was simply a mere misspelling! I can't believe it! What an anecdote! It's just sooo funny!!! :) :) :) –  brilliant Apr 27 '11 at 17:40
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This is not a common word. Most dictionaries appear not to list it, although Merriam-Webster does. Michael Quinion has a page about the word unclarity. –  mgkrebbs Apr 27 '11 at 19:19
    
Indeed, it's not neither in the OED, nor in the OALD. :| –  Alenanno Apr 27 '11 at 20:08
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@brilliant: yes, unclarity is perfectly natural given the root and affixes. Clear, clarity, and unclear are all common words; nonetheless, unclarity is uncommon (although it would be understood). In fact, the phrase lack of clarity is much more common than the word unclarity, as shown in this interesting historical chart. Such is natural language. –  mgkrebbs Apr 28 '11 at 6:25
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@Alenanno: it is indeed in the OED. Not as a headword, but as a separate entry under "un-", with three citations (two of them being the Webster's entry from 1934 and the quotation from Smiley's People, both of them mentioned by Quinion. –  Colin Fine Apr 28 '11 at 12:00

You may mean uncertainty:

uncertainty |ˌənˈsərtntē| noun ( pl. -ties) the state of being uncertain : times of uncertainty and danger. • (usu. uncertainties) something that is uncertain or that causes one to feel uncertain : financial uncertainties.

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You could use obscurity, such that:

Well, this obscurity was in fact the very reason why I decided to call this meeting tonight.

Which is defined and exemplified over on The Free Dictionary as:

The quality or condition of being imperfectly known or difficult to understand: "writings meant to be understood . . . by all, composed without deliberate obscurity or hidden motives" (National Review).

Or, ambiguity, from the same source as above:

Doubtfulness or uncertainty as regards interpretation: "leading a life of alleged moral ambiguity" (Anatole Broyard).

Or, you could use palpable, I guess:

Easily perceived; obvious

So that the sentence becomes:

Well, this lack of palpability was in fact the very reason why I decided to call this meeting tonight.

But this does alter the sentence more than you desire, just an option.

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Thank you. You didn't disappoint me at all :) –  brilliant Apr 27 '11 at 10:28
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How about lack of clarity? –  Benjol Apr 27 '11 at 11:39
    
@Benjol - I think that one is also good, but I was more after a single word. –  brilliant Apr 27 '11 at 11:41
    
@brilliant Many EL&U questions seek a single word, when really there isn't a single word that a native speaker would use. In many, many cases, the obvious multiple word phrase is the better choice. –  slim Jan 3 '12 at 18:52
    
Having said that, there's also obfuscation. –  slim Jan 3 '12 at 18:53

If you mean "the fact that it was not clearly understandable", then the synonyms can be:

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4  
Opacity is another way to say opaqueness. –  Mitch Apr 27 '11 at 11:50

For this example, I would use the word "mystery":

— There is still something not clear to me in this business. How do they get their profits back if they themselves never come back?

— Well, this mystery was in fact the very reason why I decided to call this meeting tonight.

While "obscurity" would be a good descriptor for an explanation that fails to satisfy: "Your reasoning is obscure", in this case, there is no explanation mentioned (or implied), so there is nothing to be obscure...it's a mystery (or a phenomenon).

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Haziness

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How about "question?"

This question was the reason....

In fact, the "unclear item" is "how will they get their profits back if they themselves never come back?" and that item is a "question." The meeting will, presumably, provide an "answer."

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@user7872 - Your suggestion I think is more than acceptable, but it may bear a connotation that the question had been voiced even prior to the idea of calling a meeting, while in my example it could be so that the question was voiced (=articulated=asked) for the first time during the meeting (in other words, the unclarity was there, but nobody dared to look at it (=ask about it)). –  brilliant Apr 28 '11 at 4:32

If Wiktionary is to be believed, then disclarity is a word, albeit an uncommon one.

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For another way to describe unclarity I would use promiscuity? The Free Dictionary defines it partly as:

Indiscriminate mingling, mixture, or confusion, as of parts or elements

For example:

Your answer was a little promiscuous, can you explain in more detail please?

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This would not make sense in that position. –  Matt Эллен Sep 4 '12 at 11:12
    
Why couldn't promiscuity be used in that situation? –  Sevenupcan Sep 15 '12 at 22:38
    
No native speaker would describe an answer as promiscuous. –  Matt Эллен Sep 15 '12 at 23:47
    
Is that because promiscuity is often described with people and not situations? The Collins English Dictionary says, "Promiscuous – consisting of a number of dissimilar parts or elements mingled in a confused or indiscriminate manner". Perhaps I'm missing something? –  Sevenupcan Sep 19 '12 at 13:25
    
Your choice of meaning is defined in the OED as archaic and rare. That's all I mean. –  Matt Эллен Sep 19 '12 at 13:36

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