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reticence

[ret-uh-suh ns]
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noun
  1. the state of being reticent, or reserved, especially with regard to speaking freely; restraint: His natural reticence seemed to disappear under the influence of alcohol.
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Sometimes ret·i·cen·cy.
Related formsnon·ret·i·cence, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

shynesshesitationrestraintclosenessreserve

Examples from the Web for reticence

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • In his reticence he had the sense of atoning not only to the apparition but to Miss Hernshaw too.

    Questionable Shapes

    William Dean Howells

  • In no duty towards others is there more need of reticence and self-restraint.

  • The young man had no conversation, and his reticence was quite embarrassing.

    The Christian

    Hall Caine

  • After all, Audrey had stated her case a little vaguely—there was a reticence as to details.

    Audrey Craven

    May Sinclair

  • Now I understand Mr. Briggs' civility, the tradesmen's reticence.


Word Origin and History for reticence

n.

c.1600, from Middle French réticence (16c.), from Latin reticentia "silence, a keeping silent," from present participle stem of reticere "keep silent," from re- (see re-), + tacere "be silent" (see tacit). "Not in common use until after 1830" [OED].

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper