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arcane

[ahr-keyn]
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adjective
  1. known or understood by very few; mysterious; secret; obscure; esoteric: She knew a lot about Sanskrit grammar and other arcane matters.
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Origin of arcane

1540–50; (< Middle French) < Latin arcānus, equivalent to arc(ēre) to shut up, keep (derivative of arca a chest, box) + -ānus -an
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for arcane

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Arcane was much pleased and laughed heartily when he saw no one was hurt.

    Death Valley in '49

    William Lewis Manly

  • The earth is tapped of its arcane energies, the very air yields to us its mysterious powers.

    National Being

    (A.E.)George William Russell

  • Arcane took a bucket of water back from camp and after drinking it and resting awhile the ox was driven down to the spring.

    Death Valley in '49

    William Lewis Manly

  • We met Bennett and Arcane's teamsters, and as we expected they were already out of grub and no way to get anymore.

    Death Valley in '49

    William Lewis Manly

  • Arcane was quite of the same opinion, the saving of a week of hard and tiresome travel being in each case the deciding reason.

    Death Valley in '49

    William Lewis Manly


British Dictionary definitions for arcane

arcane

adjective
  1. requiring secret knowledge to be understood; mysterious; esoteric
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Derived Formsarcanely, adverbarcaneness, noun

Word Origin

C16: from Latin arcānus secret, hidden, from arcēre to shut up, keep safe
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 arcane

adj.

1540s, from Latin arcanus "secret, hidden, private, concealed," from arcere "close up, enclose, contain," from arca "chest, box, place for safe-keeping," from PIE *ark- "to hold, contain, guard" (cf. Greek arkos "defense," arkein "to ward off;" Armenian argel "obstacle;" Lithuanian raktas "key," rakinti "to shut, lock").

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper