Obfuscation is the obscuring of intended meaning in communication, making the message confusing, willfullyambiguous, or harder to understand. It may be intentional or unintentional (although the former is usuallyconnoted) and may result from circumlocution (yielding wordiness) or from use of jargon or even argot (yielding economy of words but excluding outsiders from the communicative value). Unintended obfuscation in expository writing is usually a natural trait of early drafts in the writing process, when the composition is not yet advanced, and it can be improved with critical thinking and revising, either by the writer or by another person with sufficientreading comprehension and editing skills.
The name comes from Latin obfuscatio, from obfuscāre (“to darken”). Obfustication is a common variant of the name, especially in British English. Synonyms include beclouding and abstrusity. Obscurantism is intentional obscurity, whether by withholding communication, obfuscating it, or both.
In network security, obfuscation refers to methods used to obscure an attack payload from inspection by network protection systems.
- Black box
- Fallacy of quoting out of context
- Plain English
- Politics and the English Language
- Obfuscated code