blurred photo vs indistinct photo


Senior Member
Hi. I would like to know what is the difference between these two adjectives.

For example:

-blurred photo
-indistinct photo

Any slight difference? If they are interchangeable then tell me, which one is more common (AmE), especially in photography ?

Thank You :)
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    Senior Member
    American English
    I would say out-of-focus photo. Commenting on a photo, I would say, "It's out of focus." You can also use "blurred," I suppose, but it's much less common for me.

    A particular element of the photo might be indistinct, such as a person, so that you can't recognize who it is even though you know the person.


    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    I think the two are different.

    Everything in a photo is "indistinct" - it could be seen more clearly in a closer photo or a bigger photo. The farther away an object is, the less distinct it is. From far away, I can tell it is a road sign but the letters are indistinct (even though the photo quality is perfect).

    "Blurred" means out of focus. If you photograph a sign from quite close, all of its letters will be distinct (easy to read). But if the photo is blurred, all of the lines in the letters will be patches instead of sharp lines, because it is out of focus.


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    ... "Blurred" means out of focus...
    Blurred may mean out of focus. It may also mean other things. An object may be blurred in a photo if it moved during the exposure, even if it was in perfect focus. It may be blurred if the camera moved. It may be blurred deliberately in post-processing if someone wanted to hide a person's features, a vehicle license plate or some other identifying information. There are many other reasons for an object being blurred in a picture besides being out of focus.


    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Egmont, you are right. I was using one example while trying to explain what "blurred" means, to someone who does not know. Perhaps your additional examples help explain it. Is there a clearer way to say it?


    Senior Member
    India - Malayalam
    Let's say photograph is too small because it is stamp size and the person in it is not identifiable. Would the word indistinct work here? (the photo is indistinct)
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