disposed to be silent or not to speak freely; reserved.
reluctant or restrained.

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

Examples from the Web for reticent

Contemporary Examples of reticent

Historical Examples of reticent

  • But with what truthful yet reticent words can I convey the facts of Charley's case?

    Wilfrid Cumbermede

    George MacDonald

  • He was reticent of his own business, however much he wanted to pry into mine.

  • Sucatash sensed the fact that De Launay intended to be reticent.

    Louisiana Lou

    William West Winter

  • She did not question him, however, but Rachel was not so reticent.

    The Portygee

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

  • The man was a solemn, dignified, and reticent person, who had been groom to the late Bishop.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

British Dictionary definitions for reticent



not open or communicative; not saying all that one knows; taciturn; reserved
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 reticent

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper