gray area

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gray area

A concept or topic that is not clearly defined or that exists somewhere between two extreme positions. There's a lot of gray area regarding whether the use of the new surveillance technology is lawful.
See also: area, gray
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

(a) gray area

Fig. an area of a subject or question that is difficult to put into a particular category because it is not clearly defined and may have connections or associations with more than one category. The responsibility for social studies in the college is a gray area. Several departments are involved. Publicity is a gray area in that firm. It is shared between the marketing and design divisions.
See also: area, gray
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

gray area

Indeterminate territory, undefined position, neither here nor there. For example, There's a large gray area between what is legal and what is not. This term, which uses gray in the sense of "neither black nor white" (or halfway between the two), dates only from the mid-1900s.
See also: area, gray
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

a grey area

COMMON If you call something a grey area, you mean that it is unclear. Note: `Grey' is usually spelled `gray' in American English. There are many grey areas in the law affecting stolen animals. Tabloid papers paint all sportsmen as heroes or villains. There is no grey area in between.
See also: area, grey
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

a grey area

an ill-defined situation or field not readily conforming to a category or to an existing set of rules.
In the 1960s, grey areas in British planning vocabulary referred to places that were not in as desperate a state as slums but which were in decline and in need of rebuilding.
2001 Rough Guide to Travel Health In theory, it should be a cinch to diagnose appendicitis, but in practice it's much more of a grey area.
See also: area, grey
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

a ˌgrey ˈarea

an area of a subject or situation that is not clear or does not fit into a particular group and is therefore difficult to define or deal with: The question of police evidence in cases like this is a grey area. We will need to consult our lawyers about it.
See also: area, grey
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
This might be posited as one of those gray areas because individuals can identify costs and benefits regardless of what the auditor does.
Financial executives wishing to clarify the gray areas for themselves and build organizations that empower their employees to do the same will do well to identify the kinds of ethical transgressions that may surface in their companies.
However, there still are some gray areas. For example, does licensing 5, 10 or 100 copies of a computer software program within a state constitute nexus?
Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) chair Jose Jorge Corpuz said he and other officials were willing to meet with Philippine National Police chief Ronald 'Bato' dela Rosa anytime soon to 'clear gray areas' in their fight against illegal gambling.
Michel Francois's enigmatic art functions in those gray areas between such oppositions as nature/culture, interior/exterior, private/public, and fragility/strength.
There are many legal gray areas when an employee leaves to go with a competitor, but with an effective contract, you will be creating an environment in which you have at least a fighting chance to defend yourself.
"One person gets chosen to hurt another, The distinctions are very simplistic, the nuances and gray areas are lost.
Typical gray areas should be the tops of the risers.
The blue and gray areas are "clean" regions where almost no reflected signal was present.
It often deals in the gray area, not in the pure black and white.