Expressions used in Everyday Spoken English in Social and Professional contexts

(a) grey area

grey areaa grey area
1) a situation that is not clearly defined or where the rules are uncertain
  • How to MemorizePopularity HighProfessional MediumSocial
    • it's a bit of a grey area
  • Analysis
    This phrase expresses a situation that is not clearly defined or falls between different categories. A 'grey area' is open to interpretation as generally the rules are not known and therefore it is hard to judge what is right or wrong. This can lead to confusion about how to deal with a situation or decide who is responsible for it, but it can also lead to opportunities if you take appropriate advantage of the confusion. It can be used in a social context but is more common in a professional one. A phrase with a similar meaning is 'no-man's-land.'
  • Social Examples (Advance)
    1. There is a large grey area regarding the storage of people's private information by social networking sites. 
  • Professional Examples (Advance)
    1. I don't know whether our method of securing the contract was fully legal or not. It's a bit of a grey area.
    2. Our plans to expand into that country have been put on the back burner. There are too many grey areas in how their government conducts business.
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