An example of reticent is a student who never raises her hand or answers a question in class.
- silent or uncommunicative; disinclined to speak readily, often, specif., habitually so
- having a restrained, quiet, or understated quality
Origin of reticentClassical Latin reticens, present participle of reticere, to be silent from re-, again + tacere, to be silent: see tacit
- Inclined to keep one's thoughts, feelings, and personal affairs to oneself. See Synonyms at laconic.
- Restrained or reserved: “The laughter was steady, if reticent” ( Bernard Lown )
- Usage Problem Reluctant; unwilling.
Origin of reticentLatin reticēns reticent- present participle of reticēre to keep silent re- re- tacēre to be silent
Usage Note: Reticent is generally used to indicate a reluctance to speak. Most commentators on usage have criticized its extended use as an all-purpose synonym for reluctant. In our 2001 survey, 83 percent of the Panel found unacceptable the sentence A lot of out-of-towners are reticent to come to the Twin Cities for a ballgame if there's a chance the game will be rained out.
(comparative more reticent, superlative most reticent)
Latin reticens, present participle of reticere (“to keep silence"); re- + tacere (“to be silent").