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[ret-uh-suh ns] /ˈrɛt ə səns/
the state of being reticent, or reserved, especially with regard to speaking freely; restraint:
His natural reticence seemed to disappear under the influence of alcohol.
Sometimes, reticency.
Related forms
nonreticence, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for reticence
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • For reticence is just on the boundary of deception, and it needs but a very little step to take one over the border.

  • In his reticence he had the sense of atoning not only to the apparition but to Miss Hernshaw too.

    Questionable Shapes William Dean Howells
  • There was her reticence as to the ownership of the car and the way in which she had tried to prevent a meeting.

    The Kingdom Round the Corner Coningsby Dawson
  • In no duty towards others is there more need of reticence and self-restraint.

    The Republic Plato
  • She asked herself why she was afraid of him, and the answer she seemed to get was that his reticence frightened her.

    December Love Robert Hichens
Word Origin and History for reticence

c.1600, from Middle French réticence (16c.), from Latin reticentia "silence, a keeping silent," from present participle stem of reticere "keep silent," from re- (see re-), + tacere "be silent" (see tacit). "Not in common use until after 1830" [OED].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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