• synonyms


[ret-uh-suh ns]
  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


  1. disposed to be silent or not to speak freely; reserved.
  2. reluctant or restrained.
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Origin of reticent

1825–35; < Latin reticent- (stem of reticēns), present participle of reticēre to be silent, equivalent to re- re- + -tic-, combining form of tacēre to be silent (cf. tacit) + -ent- -ent
Related formsret·i·cence, ret·i·cen·cy, nounret·i·cent·ly, adverbnon·ret·i·cent, adjectivenon·ret·i·cent·ly, adverbun·ret·i·cent, adjectiveun·ret·i·cent·ly, adverb
Can be confusedreluctant reticent (see synonym study at reluctant)reticent reluctant

Synonyms for reticent

Antonyms for reticent

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for reticency

Historical Examples of reticency

British Dictionary definitions for reticency


  1. not open or communicative; not saying all that one knows; taciturn; reserved
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Derived Formsreticence, nounreticently, adverb

Word Origin for reticent

C19: from Latin reticēre to keep silent, from re- + tacēre to be silent
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 reticency



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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1834, from Latin reticentem (nominative reticens), present participle of reticere "be silent" (see reticence).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper