AskDefine | Define reticent

Dictionary Definition

reticent adj
1 temperamentally disinclined to talk [syn: untalkative]
2 cool and formal in manner [syn: reserved, restrained, unemotional]
3 reluctant to draw attention to yourself [syn: self-effacing]

User Contributed Dictionary



reticens, present participle of reticere to keep silence; re- + tacere to be silent.


  • /ˈrɛtɪsənt/


  1. Keeping one's thoughts and opinions to oneself; reserved or restrained.


  • 1856 — Ralph Waldo Emerson, English Traits, Result
    They are slow and reticent, and are like a dull good horse which lets every nag pass him, but with whip and spur will run down every racer in the field.
  • 1870 — Charles Dickens, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, ch XXIII
    But he was a reticent as well as an eccentric man; and he made no mention of a certain evening when he warmed his hands at the gatehouse fire, and looked steadily down upon a certain heap of torn and miry clothes upon the floor.
  • 1891 — Thomas Hardy ,Tess of the d'Urbervilles, ch LIV
    She had told him she was not now at Marlott, but had been curiously reticent as to her actual address, and the only course was to go to Marlott and inquire for it.
  • 1915 — John Buchan, The Thirty-Nine Steps, Ch 3
    The milkman had been released, I read, and the true criminal, about whose identity the police were reticent, was believed to have got away from London by one of the northern lines.
  • 1922 — H. P. Lovecraft, The Music of Erich Zann
    The inhabitants of that street impressed me peculiarly; At first I thought it was because they were all silent and reticent; but later decided it was because they were all very old.
  • 1922 — Rafael Sabatini, Captain Blood: His Odyssy, ch XXV
    But they were not reticent enough to prevent the circulation of certain uneasy rumours and extravagant stories of discreditable adventures.


Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1