I want to mention that the scale bar of a plot is deliberately eliminated, since it is not the main point, it does not give much information and it ruin the figure because it takes lots of space and distract the attention from the main plot.

I need a single verb to describe the situation. I mean I want to say

Scale bars of figure 1 are deliberately eliminated, since they "suggested verb" the plot.

suggested verb should mean

ruin with extra information, symbols, pictures, etc, which take the focus off the main subject


By "plot" do you mean "chart" or "graph"? Plot by itself is probably the wrong word to use in this context, mostly because it has multiple meanings and can be confusing -- at first I thought you were talking about something like the plot of a movie.

There are a number of words that mean to add information that makes something (a sentence, an explanation, a chart, a diagram, whatever) more difficult to understand, but the one that jumps to mind is obfuscate:

obfuscate (v): Make obscure, unclear, or unintelligible.


The scale bar on the side is unnecessary because it only obfuscates the significance of the chart.

Alternately, if the bar only makes the chart more complicated, you could say it distracts or detracts from the main plot of the chart, or it clutters (up) the chart, or that it simply makes the chart harder to read.

The scale bar on the side is a visual distraction that clutters the chart without adding any significant information.

The scale bar makes the chart harder to read. I understand why you thought it was necessary, but you really should remove it.

Note: "Obfuscate" is one of those "big" words that may be appropriate to the context but can sound pretentious. Only a relatively small percentage of English speakers will know what it means. Sometimes it's better to keep it simple -- "confuse" is a good, if rough, synonym.

  • Just FYI I updated the title of the question about 3.2 seconds before you posted your answer because of the plot/chart ambiguity. I like the suggestion of "distraction" - that was the first word I thought of. – ColleenV parted ways Jul 2 '18 at 15:01
  • @ColleenV I'm impressed by your chronometric precision. :) – Andrew Jul 2 '18 at 15:04
  • @Andrew Thanks for the detailed answer and fixing my mistake on "plot". I prefer the sentence with "visual distraction" and "clutter". thank you. – parisa Jul 2 '18 at 15:30
  • @parisa Glad I could help. Also be aware "obfuscate" is one of those "big" words that may be appropriate to the context but can sound pretentious. Sometimes it's better to keep it simple. "Visual clutter" is a well-known, relatively modern idiomatic expression. – Andrew Jul 2 '18 at 15:45
  • FWIW, I like distraction better than obfuscate. For example: Scale bars of figure 1 are deliberately eliminated, since they distract from the plot. As Andrew mentions in the comment, it's probably best to user the word obfuscate sparingly. – J.R. Jul 2 '18 at 19:30

Personally I'd say:

Scale bars of figure 1 are deliberately eliminated, since they obscure the plot.

  • thanks @Maciej, but, as far as I know "obscure" means "makes it vague" somehow, sometimes for lack of data. it doesn't explicitly referring to extra data or shapes. – parisa Jul 2 '18 at 14:32
  • how about "Involute"? – parisa Jul 2 '18 at 14:35
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    @parisa I disagree - obscure: 'Make unclear and difficult to understand.'. I think it's appropriate here, and in my opinion it's more likely to refer to things being added to muddy the original intent, rather than removed. – Maciej Stachowski Jul 2 '18 at 14:37
  • And "involute" is a very, um, involute word - I wouldn't use it unless I really wanted to sound highbrow. – Maciej Stachowski Jul 2 '18 at 14:40
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    @parisa "intricate" isn't a verb, and even as an adjective it doesn't quite mean what you need it to mean - an "intricate" plot would be a plot with many components, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. – Maciej Stachowski Jul 2 '18 at 15:07

An informal word is busy.

I removed the legend because it made the chart look too busy.

You might say that to a co-worker to explain your decision, but it wouldn't be a good way to explain the intentional omission to a corporate customer, say, who will be reading the chart. You'd want something more formal.

But you probably wouldn't want to put the explanation on the chart itself :)

The legend was removed because it detracted from the visual impact of the chart.

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