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So you have a piece of dead skin on your nose. Every once in a while something bothers you but you don't know what it is. Then you realize you keep seeing the dead skin flake. Is there a term to describe this?

Note: I should have mentioned this from the beginning, but my bad, peripheral is not what I am looking for. I would tend to use this for field of vision on the outside corner of my eyes. Looking for a word that convey something - either above or below - that may be on your face.

I am looking for that "hazy" area that you see the tip of your nose or eyebrows or the occasional cheek.

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    Difficult to say...'obfuscated' is a wonderful word for something that is difficult to see, but strongly implies that the object is being hidden by something, when really the only thing obfuscating it is your field of vision, so that might not work.
    – Zibbobz
    Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 15:13

5 Answers 5

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You could say it's in the periphery of your vision. That is, you only see it on the edge of your vision.

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There's an expression "out of the corner of one's eye" which might work in some situations e.g. "Out of the corner of his eye he noticed a large spider". I think this may only be used in British English though...

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  • A perfect expression for the experience that has been described. Even though it usually is used in the sense of the outer corners of one's eyes, it works equally well for the inner corners, including objects that might be on one's nose.
    – Zibbobz
    Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 15:20
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    I've heard it used reasonably often in American English. Certainly a fluent American English speaker would know what you're talking about if you used this expression. (This is the first answer that came to my own mind when I read the title of the question, and I'm a native AmE speaker.)
    – John Y
    Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 16:07
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Sounds like it's in your peripheral field:

: the outer part of the field of vision; specif : the part that lies more than 30 degrees from the line of sight

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An "Obscured" object is one that is difficult to see.

"Obfuscated" also means a lack of clarity, though it implies an active hand in blocking the view of the object, and so might not be appropriate here. And you would have to say it is 'obfuscated by your field of vision' to be accurate, because it itself is not obfuscating anything.

You could say your own field of vision obfuscates the dead skin. But if you want to say the object itself is difficult to see, you would say it is obscure/obscured.

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    I never had an obfuscated flake of skin on my nose.
    – mplungjan
    Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 15:21
  • It's a bit difficult to justify obfuscate, which is why I was initially hesitant on posting it. It's a bit wordy, and very rarely used. "Obscured" is really the better choice here, but I felt I should include all possibilities that I thought of while writing the answer.
    – Zibbobz
    Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 15:23
  • But it is not obscured. It is plainly visible but since it is in the periphery of your vision, you do not realise what is irritating your vision
    – mplungjan
    Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 15:25
  • Which is why I would have to say it is "obfuscated by the field of your vision", because the cause of it being difficult to see is the range in which you can see it. It itself is not obfuscating, it is being obfuscated by your own range of sight.
    – Zibbobz
    Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 15:33
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blind spot is another term you can use, even though it has a specific meaning in medicine.

As explained in dictionary.com

> blind spot 1864, "spot within one's range of vision where yet one cannot see." Of flaws in the eye, from 1872; figurative sense in use by 1907.

Just as you refer to blind spot mirrors for vehicles.

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