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[ab-stroos] /æbˈstrus/
hard to understand; recondite; esoteric:
abstruse theories.
Obsolete. secret; hidden.
Origin of abstruse
1590-1600; < Latin abstrūsus thrust away, concealed (past participle of abstrūdere), equivalent to abs- abs- + trūd- thrust + -tus past participle suffix
Related forms
abstrusely, adverb
abstruseness, noun
Can be confused
abstruse, obtuse.
1. incomprehensible, unfathomable, arcane.
1. clear, uncomplicated, simple; obvious. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for abstruse
  • Unfortunately, it is sometimes difficult for the economic operators to comprehend the abstruse provisions correctly.
  • If your initial topic seems abstruse, consider the motivation that led you to it in the first place.
  • It's often stimulating, but too abstruse for the average reader.
  • Despite its success, readers confessed to difficulty in grasping its more abstruse concepts.
  • Though abstruse, these definitions could shape the long-term future of genetic testing.
  • Many of his sources are obscure and abstruse.
  • That sentence is not mysterious, abstruse, or resistant to comprehension.
  • The first one is an abstruse mixture of conspiracy theories.
  • Edward was the family eccentric, more involved in abstruse ecological and artistic concerns than business matters.
  • Some university-based research can sound ridiculously abstruse.
British Dictionary definitions for abstruse


not easy to understand; recondite; esoteric
Derived Forms
abstrusely, adverb
abstruseness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin abstrūsus thrust away, concealed, from abs-ab-1 + trūdere to thrust
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for abstruse

1590s, from Middle French abstrus (16c.) or directly from Latin abstrusus "hidden, concealed, secret," past participle of abstrudere "conceal," literally "to thrust away," from ab- "away" (see ab-) + trudere "to thrust, push" (see extrusion). Related: Abstrusely; abstruseness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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