Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Wikipedia.
A concept or topic that is not clearly defined or that exists somewhere between two extreme positions. Primarily heard in Australia. There's a large grey area regarding whether the use of the new surveillance technology is lawful.
(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.
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.
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.
a grey areaan 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.