a grey area

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - a grey area

"a grey area"

a situation in which the rules are not clear, or in which you are not sure what is right or wrong


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - a grey area

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1:  We are having some trouble with government licensing for our new software app.

Colleague 2:  What's the problem?

Colleague 1:  The government can't seem to decide if the app turns people's smartphones into medical devices.

Colleague 2:  And if it ends up being a medical device, what then?

Colleague 1:  It is a bit of a grey area as to whether the app is licensed as a medical device or just a regular app.

Colleague 2:  So, what is the plan?

Colleague 1:  The general consensus is that we will go ahead and sell the app and deal with the consequences later, if a decision is ever made regarding use and intent and the legal ramifications involved.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - a grey area

Two friends are talking ...

Friend 1:  Do you think that telling a small lie to protect someone's feelings shows poor morals?

Friend 2:  That is definitely a grey area.

Friend 1:  But it must be OK to protect a person's feelings, right?

Friend 2:  Maybe. But it is still a lie and a lie is immoral.

Friend 1:  I see. There really is no clear answer.

a grey area - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   564   click for frequency by country

a grey area - Gerund Form:

There is no gerund form for a grey area.

a grey area - Examples:

1)  ... see audit firms going outside of their traditional mandate and there is enough of a grey area to allow these companies to continue providing consulting services without breaking any laws.

2)  As a clinician that's all I ever wanted - that there wasn't a grey area where there's indecision and difficulty for families.

3)  There is no space for a grey area. There is no room for reasonable doubt.

4)  There is a grey area at this moment. Players are slightly confused at this point.

5)  ... to make chemo an option, but small enough to land it squarely in a grey area -- with no clear choice of treatment. 

6)  The post was neither entirely true nor completely false. It fell into a grey area in the nuanced world of fact-checking, highlighting the thorny challenge of ...

7)  Rickshaws are a grey area because they fall between a pedal cycle and an MPV (mechanically propelled vehicle ...

8)  Similar to protesting, smoking weed in public falls under a grey area and is not under all circumstances considered to be a criminal act in Ontario.

9)  While my mixed heritage may have created a grey area surrounding my self-identification, keeping me with a foot on both sides of the ...

10)  Quite a lot of this is not black and white, it is a grey area. No country has ever left the EU. 

11)  Legally, this can be a bit of a grey area and would be settled on a case by case basis.

12)  Having covered five general elections, one comes to realise that there is a grey area when it comes to proper conduct involving money by political hopefuls and the parties.

13)  But there is a grey area: having a suspicion and having proof are two very different things, and ...

14)  People aren't breaking the law by selling it, but it is a grey area which needs stricter legislation.

15)  Legal experts said the transfer of goods to Crimea may fall in a grey area of the sanctions regime because the relationship between parent companies and sub-contractors is often ...

16)  But the vagaries of the law leave agencies and surrogates operating in a grey area

17)  This is a bit of a grey area since the matter of interconnection is subject to commercial agreements between the two parties.

18)  ... a lot of what they did was not illegal - it was kind of a grey area in the law, they kind of exploited something that was already there.

19)  The Canadian Taxpayers Federation calls election expenses a grey area and said candidates should bill only for costs directly related to their campaigns.

20)  However, apps that essentially allow a smartphone to become a medical device present a grey area.