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While reading an article on Mediterranean diet, I found the following sentence:

While somewhat nebulous in specific makeup, the diet is typically said to be rich in fish, nuts, fresh vegetables, olive oil and fruit.

I think this, partially, means while this is not clear to some degree; however, I can't get how makeup is used in this sentence.

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  • "While somewhat unclear exactly what it is composed of, the diet..."
    – Mitch
    Sep 12, 2018 at 15:35
  • What does a dictionary tell you about "makeup"?
    – AndyT
    Sep 12, 2018 at 15:46
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    As above, it is expected that you show what research you have done in your question. Try the online dictionaries Merriam-Webster, Cambridge and Oxford. They all differ a bit, but two provide a clear definition consistent with your quotation.
    – Tuffy
    Sep 12, 2018 at 15:54

1 Answer 1

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You're correct with your interpretation of nebulous meaning "not clear to some degree". Makeup means "composition" in the sentence you have provided.

Collins Dictionary defines makeup as

The makeup of something consists of its different parts and the way these parts are arranged.

  • The ideological makeup of the unions is now radically different from what it had been.

The Mediterranean diet according to EUFIC - The European Food Information Council

is based on the traditional eating habits from the 1960s of people from countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea, such as Greece, Italy, and Spain, and it encourages the consumption of fresh, seasonal, and local foods.

The Mediterranean diet is not a single prescribed diet, but rather a general food-based eating pattern, which is marked by local and cultural differences throughout the Mediterranean region.

Hence, the author(s) have used nebulous to describe it

Collins Dictionary definition of nebulous is

If you describe something as nebulous, you mean that it is vague and not clearly defined or not easy to describe.

  • The notions we children were able to form of the great world beyond were exceedingly nebulous.
  • Music is such a nebulous thing.

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