Definition of abstruse in English:



  • Difficult to understand; obscure.

    ‘an abstruse philosophical inquiry’
    • ‘Still, this is a Frank Black album, with its obscure references and abstruse lyrics.’
    • ‘He was a singularly modest man with a passion for accuracy and a gift for the lucid exposition of difficult and abstruse problems.’
    • ‘The popularity of the scripture in east Asia is no doubt due to its doctrinal simplicity; it makes only the two primary points listed above, and eschews discussions of abstruse philosophical matters.’
    • ‘The catchy title and cover art attracted many to a tome that otherwise would have been considered way too abstruse to bother with.’
    • ‘Similarly astronauts, today's counterpart of the pioneer ocean-crossers of yesteryear, seem by no means youthful and tend to have doctorates in the most abstruse subjects.’
    • ‘Now, this is not an abstruse philosophical distinction that we are seeking to make.’
    • ‘Newman's passion for abstruse matters of theology strikes Wilson as escapism or worse.’
    • ‘Its abstruse style may be hard going for those who are not so prepared.’
    • ‘These analyses have varied from abstruse academic works at one end to crude ‘how to get rich quick by writing a novel’ manuals at the other.’
    • ‘The language is abstruse and esoteric, almost incomprehensible, the ‘discourse’ inaccessible except to the initiates.’
    • ‘He missed lectures, dropped out of courses, spent long nights reading abstruse texts, and slept during the day.’
    • ‘For you, is it a way of making philosophy, which actually often seems quite abstruse, into something more personal and practical?’
    • ‘The books range from abstruse scholarship to collections of jokes to model questions for the West Bengal Civil Service entry exam.’
    • ‘You will not find ‘society’ reflected in the ethical committees that labour so long and hard over abstruse points and moral issues.’
    • ‘We are talking about design and visual culture here, after all, not abstruse aspects of philosophy.’
    • ‘Reform of British institutions, like national health and education, are simply too abstruse for most Americans to understand.’
    • ‘And he covers what could be fairly abstruse philosophical questions in a remarkably clear and simple way.’
    • ‘Josh's mind boggled in the futile effort to penetrate the abstruse complexity of an esoteric form of thinking that was altogether foreign to him.’
    • ‘Is the reader of this text assumed to be put off by difficult, abstruse, theory-driven contemporary art and hungry for work that claims to be more directly understood?’
    • ‘So the causes of China's ‘miracle’ are neither exotic nor abstruse.’
    obscure, arcane, esoteric, little known, recherché, rarefied, recondite, difficult, hard, puzzling, perplexing, enigmatic, inscrutable, cryptic, delphic, complex, complicated, involved, above one's head, over one's head, incomprehensible, unfathomable, impenetrable, mysterious
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Late 16th century: from Latin abstrusus ‘put away, hidden’, from abstrudere ‘conceal’, from ab- ‘from’ + trudere ‘to push’.