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[ret-uh-suh nt] /ˈrɛt ə sənt/
disposed to be silent or not to speak freely; reserved.
reluctant or restrained.
Origin of reticent
1825-35; < Latin reticent- (stem of reticēns), present participle of reticēre to be silent, equivalent to re- re- + -tic-, combining form of tacēre to be silent (cf. tacit) + -ent- -ent
Related forms
reticence, reticency, noun
reticently, adverb
nonreticent, adjective
nonreticently, adverb
unreticent, adjective
unreticently, adverb
Can be confused
reluctant, reticent (see synonym study at reluctant)
reticent, reluctant.
1. taciturn, quiet, uncommunicative.
1. talkative, voluble. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for reticent
  • Being an introvert does not mean being incompetent, shy, or even reticent.
  • Much of the mystery was of her own making, growing out of her reticent, elusive personality.
  • He is reticent and shy, and his pared-down approach to the presentation of himself applies also to the presentation of his work.
  • He's less reticent about discussing his frequent-flier mileage balance, which presumably exceeds that of his peers.
  • She and her collaborators came up with a clever way to use mobile phones to reach reticent sufferers.
  • Holt tends, however, to be reticent on the ancient history of joking.
  • Many toddlers are notoriously choosy about their foods and reticent to try new things.
  • Under the name of each artist was a brief and extremely reticent biography.
  • Suddenly his literary friends who had been so willing to help publicize his book grew reticent.
  • They are sometimes reticent, because they think it is going to be too complicated, too this or too that.
British Dictionary definitions for reticent


not open or communicative; not saying all that one knows; taciturn; reserved
Derived Forms
reticence, noun
reticently, adverb
Word Origin
C19: from Latin reticēre to keep silent, from re- + tacēre to be silent
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 reticent

1834, from Latin reticentem (nominative reticens), present participle of reticere "be silent" (see reticence).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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