grey area: meaning and explanation

A grey area is something that is unclear or not well defined. If something is a grey area, then it may be unclear how you should deal with it, what course of action is best, or who should be responsible.

For example, a legal grey area would be a situation in which it is not clear whether something is legal or illegal. This could be the result of social, cultural or technological changes which happen faster than the legal system can develop. Grey areas exist until laws are updated or clarified.

Have a go at these micro-dictation exercises to hear this expression being used in context – how much can you understand?

Listening exercises

Micro-listening #1

Accent: North America

, .
With of technology, frequently .
With the development of technology, businesses more frequently legal grey .

Micro-listening #2

Accent: Ireland

, .
tells this is , so we should .
legal department tells that this is of a grey , so we should proceed caution.

About the sentence

…something of a grey area…

something of a + noun is a structure you can use to deemphasise something, to be vague about something, or to be less concrete.

Think of this phrase: Apparently you’re something of an expert on drones?. This puts less emphasis on the idea that the person is an expert, and therefore puts less pressure on the person you’re speaking to than if you just said: Apparently you’re an expert on drones?

Micro-listening #3

Accent: Australia

law mean that consent for marketing no longer .
Changes the law mean that customer consent for marketing is no longer a area.

Photo by Nicolai Fedderholdt on Unsplash