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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for reticent
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But with what truthful yet reticent words can I convey the facts of Charley's case?

    Wilfrid Cumbermede George MacDonald
  • He was reticent of his own business, however much he wanted to pry into mine.

  • Sucatash sensed the fact that De Launay intended to be reticent.

    Louisiana Lou William West Winter
  • She did not question him, however, but Rachel was not so reticent.

    The Portygee Joseph Crosby Lincoln
  • The man was a solemn, dignified, and reticent person, who had been groom to the late Bishop.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
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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