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[ahr-keyn] /ɑrˈkeɪn/
known or understood by very few; mysterious; secret; obscure; esoteric:
She knew a lot about Sanskrit grammar and other arcane matters.
Origin of arcane
1540-50; (< Middle French) < Latin arcānus, equivalent to arc(ēre) to shut up, keep (derivative of arca a chest, box) + -ānus -an Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for arcane


requiring secret knowledge to be understood; mysterious; esoteric
Derived Forms
arcanely, adverb
arcaneness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin arcānus secret, hidden, from arcēre to shut up, keep safe
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for arcane

1540s, from Latin arcanus "secret, hidden, private, concealed," from arcere "close up, enclose, contain," from arca "chest, box, place for safe-keeping," from PIE *ark- "to hold, contain, guard" (cf. Greek arkos "defense," arkein "to ward off;" Armenian argel "obstacle;" Lithuanian raktas "key," rakinti "to shut, lock").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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