"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[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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Examples from the web for arcane
  • Visitors browse among arcane and popular titles or among the cards and calendars.
  • He was a disciplined and chiselled prose stylist who could not resist dropping names and arcane terms into his work.
  • Stay tuned for a very arcane discussion of Latin grammar.
  • Everyone will learn a lot about the arcane art of scrimshaw.
  • Such distinctions might seem arcane to the casual observer.
  • And while the inside stories were in a sense secret, they were scarcely miraculous or arcane.
  • The illustrations are a mix of overfamiliar and refreshingly arcane.
  • In the past, the methods of quantitative assessment were laborious and arcane.
  • Even arcane rules are tough to recognize in real time.
  • Here's a guide to the arcane terminology of the book world.
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
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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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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