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 abstruseness

Historical Examples of abstruseness

  • But abstruseness is a quality appertaining to no subject per se.


    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.


    Francis Thompson

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

    Friedrich Nietzsche

    Georg Brandes

British Dictionary definitions for abstruseness



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 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