Definition of reticent in English:



  • Not revealing one's thoughts or feelings readily.

    ‘she was extremely reticent about her personal affairs’
    • ‘Aware of the potential for ridicule, or for having their sanity questioned, protesters are naturally reticent about discussing these experiences.’
    • ‘Turner was famously reticent regarding his private life.’
    • ‘Their performances are at once reticent and emotionally-charged.’
    • ‘Yet, although he may seem a bit reticent, he certainly is not a recluse.’
    • ‘Dann wondered why Kiv was so reticent about revealing his master plan.’
    • ‘He was unusually withdrawn and reticent during that time, until suddenly, the more public horror of world events seemed to shock him out of it.’
    • ‘The other streak that Gould does not mention in these essays is a streak of his own, though his publishers are not so reticent.’
    • ‘Of course, if gambling in groups doesn't appeal to your reticent nature, most of these games are also available in the single player mode.’
    • ‘When it comes to looking for money from the government, technology business people are no more reticent than farmers, fishermen or teachers.’
    • ‘It's reticent because it lacks the authority to be declarative.’
    • ‘He's reticent on succession plans, except to say that a Japanese would increase motivation among employees.’
    • ‘Like others who are naturally reticent and introverted he was able, says Dimbleby, to lose himself in the disciplined freedom of performance.’
    • ‘I like his chamber works best, a genre most suited to his essentially modest and reticent artistic nature.’
    • ‘The spendthrift ways of provincial governments have made international lending agencies reticent to loan desperately needed cash.’
    • ‘Ten years and a lot of reticent memories after, their winding roads are finally coming to that familiar intersection once more.’
    • ‘Unfortunately the book is also reticent; it is remarkable for what is not included.’
    • ‘Intolerable Cruelty is a movie in which the brothers' distinctive presence is quite reticent and discreet in terms of script.’
    • ‘In other respects, he is famously reticent, averse to showmanship and actually something of a camera-shy recluse.’
    • ‘He never wanted anything from life and was a quiet, reticent man not given to violence.’
    • ‘Precisely because many Ghanaians are reticent about expressing love, a special day dedicated to love is prized.’
    reserved, withdrawn, introverted, restrained, inhibited, diffident, shy, modest, unassuming, shrinking, distant, undemonstrative, wouldn't say boo to a goose
    uncommunicative, unforthcoming, unresponsive, tight-lipped, close-mouthed, close-lipped, quiet, taciturn, silent, guarded, secretive, private, media-shy, playing one's cards close to one's chest
    View synonyms


Mid 19th century: from Latin reticent- remaining silent from the verb reticere, from re- (expressing intensive force) + tacere be silent.