Definition of arcane in English:

arcane

adjective

  • Understood by few; mysterious or secret.

    ‘arcane procedures for electing people’
    • ‘I could find a mentor and follow them around, learning the arcane and mystical art of pointing.’
    • ‘This is not a task to be undertaken lightly: the language is convoluted and arcane.’
    • ‘The play has inconsistencies of tone, and like all Shakespearean comedy, its jokes are archaic and arcane.’
    • ‘Eventually, just two competitors stand against each other until one is able to spell some arcane word that the other cannot.’
    • ‘At one point an arcane discussion about the future of cursive handwriting starts up.’
    • ‘This arcane practice has to come to an end if investors are to have faith in equities in the long term.’
    • ‘In many parts of the globe disputes over history are often not arcane or academic disagreements.’
    • ‘Records were denied airplay for the most arcane reasons imaginable.’
    • ‘Under the arcane rules of the council, this has to be debated at an Executive Committee meeting.’
    • ‘If the dos and don'ts of tipping are so arcane, why is it so prevalent?’
    • ‘The compact libretto used less of the flowery, arcane language that once had seemed a requisite of high style.’
    • ‘Einstein proceeds to describe with arcane mathematics and symbols his theory of relativity.’
    • ‘Modern conflict may be too complex for arcane forms of protest.’
    • ‘But in the arcane world of Commonwealth Games eligibility, nothing is simple.’
    • ‘Here at least, the lyrics are quite clear and not concealed beneath some arcane reference.’
    • ‘Can television handle philosophy, which is popularly seen as either arcane or impossibly difficult?’
    • ‘Civil servants, ministers and the pensions industry agonised over how to interest the public in this arcane subject.’
    • ‘It may seem an arcane issue to go to war over, but the unions are worried that they are losing an increasing number of workers to the private sector.’
    • ‘Longhi's metaphors are sometimes arcane, but they can also be familiar.’
    • ‘In a busy schedule where usually the legislation is very arcane, it can take years, if ever, for necessary change to occur.’
    mysterious, secret, hidden, concealed, covert, clandestine, enigmatic, dark
    View synonyms

Origin

Mid 16th century: from Latin arcanus, from arcere ‘to shut up’, from arca ‘chest’.

Pronunciation

arcane

/ɑːˈkeɪn/