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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for abstruseness
Historical Examples
  • But abstruseness is a quality appertaining to no subject per se.

    Eureka: Edgar A. Poe
  • It was true that she had it upside down; but, as he remarked, that only added to the abstruseness of the subject.

    Katharine Frensham Beatrice Harraden
  • It is the abstruseness of the proposition which stimulates research—which stirs profoundly the brain of the thinking world.

    In Search of the Unknown Robert W. Chambers
  • The most wrinkled Æson of an abstruseness leaps rosy out of his bubbling genius.

    Shelley Francis Thompson
  • He further impressed his contemporaries by his psychological profundity and abstruseness.

    Friedrich Nietzsche Georg Brandes
  • abstruseness in expression is very frequently regarded as an indication of profundity.

    The Young Man and the World Albert J. Beveridge
  • And the important fact is that this abstruseness is not verbal, any more than it is the abstruseness of fog and cloud.

British Dictionary definitions for abstruseness


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 abstruseness



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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