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 ?
The letter further directed to solicit information as to what actions had been or being taken in the light of public complaints so as to address the grey areas of service delivery process once for all.
The source cited series of consultations that were ongoing in both Abuja and Lagos, disclosing that only on Saturday, the state deputy governor, Dr Idiat Adebule, had a meeting with the leadership and members of the state Assembly, where most of the grey areas of the budget and the conflict were resolved.
Are there points I of the trapezium that lead to "balanced areas" (the sum of grey areas equals the sum of white areas)?
"Cycling has always had a bad reputation when it comes to people crossing boundaries and, historically, it has been seen as a sport with a lot of grey areas.
"But there are no grey areas now when we get out there.
"We all know now in black and white what is right and what is wrong for the game - there are no grey areas and everybody knows now what will happen if you step out of line," said Higgins.
But Jefferies feels there are too many grey areas with the current interpretation of the rule and has called on FIFA to set out clear guidelines.
On the amount which has been agreed on and the grey areas, he said, 'we meet them halfway.
There may be only a few weeks left before parliamentary elections are held in the country, remedies must be found and all the grey areas bleached or dyed in time to the mutual satisfaction of all.
She said DWE in consultation with stakeholders had conducted training needs assessment, identified 12 grey areas and finalized 12 training modules out of which further 36 training courses were being designed for this years.
Kayani admitted that the military only sees white and black, and there are no grey areas for it, whereas in politics it is the grey area that really matters and gives politicians a lot of room to effectively deal with issues, the paper said, attributing to a source who attended the APC.
Jefferies said: "There are too many grey areas. Somewhere down the line a very important game, maybe one deciding promotion or relegation, will be affected by this rule.
But surely if there were grey areas in his toilet break, Anderson was right to get them checked out.
The preliminary interrogation of the accused revealed that they had been using some grey areas in Gurdaspur sector to cross the consignments of heroin.
She adds: "Even worse, if you're a brunette, you will be stuck with that awful salt-and-pepper look for years." When clients approach her with a light smattering of grey, she recommends a technique called 'painting', where a colour very close to the real colour is applied to grey areas.