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 formsab·struse·ly, adverbab·struse·ness, noun
Can be confusedabstruse obtuse

Synonyms for abstruse

Antonyms for abstruse

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for abstruse

Contemporary Examples of abstruse

Historical Examples of abstruse

  • Ordinary people may fear there is some abstruse science about this.

    Albert Durer

    T. Sturge Moore

  • This abstruse notion is the foundation of the Hegelian logic.

  • With scholars and philosophers they held their own in abstruse and abstract discussions.

    An American Suffragette

    Isaac N. Stevens

  • And she, following, applied herself to the most abstruse of Art-studies.


    Dinah Maria Craik, (AKA Dinah Maria Mulock)

  • An abstruse, ancient classic, usually called the Book of Changes.

British Dictionary definitions for abstruse



not easy to understand; recondite; esoteric
Derived Formsabstrusely, adverbabstruseness, noun

Word Origin for abstruse

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

Word Origin and History for abstruse

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