reticent
Pronunciation
  • IPA: /ˈɹɛtɪsənt/, [ˈɹɛdəsənt]
Adjective

reticent

  1. Keeping one's thoughts and opinions to oneself; reserved or restrained.
    • 1856, Ralph Waldo Emerson, English Traits, Result:
      They are slow and reticent, and are like a dull good horse which lets every nag pass him, but with whip and spur will run down every racer in the field.
    • 1870, Charles Dickens, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, ch XXIII:
      But he was a reticent as well as an eccentric man; and he made no mention of a certain evening when he warmed his hands at the gatehouse fire, and looked steadily down upon a certain heap of torn and miry clothes upon the floor.
    • 1891, Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, ch LIV:
      She had told him she was not now at Marlott, but had been curiously reticent as to her actual address, and the only course was to go to Marlott and inquire for it.
    • 1915, John Buchan, The Thirty-Nine Steps, ch 3:
      The milkman had been released, I read, and the true criminal, about whose identity the police were reticent, was believed to have got away from London by one of the northern lines.
    • 1922, H. P. Lovecraft, The Music of Erich Zann:
      The inhabitants of that street impressed me peculiarly; At first I thought it was because they were all silent and reticent; but later decided it was because they were all very old.
    • 1922, Rafael Sabatini, Captain Blood: His Odyssy, ch XXV:
      But they were not reticent enough to prevent the circulation of certain uneasy rumours and extravagant stories of discreditable adventures.
  2. (proscribed) Hesitant or not wanting to take some action; reluctant (usually followed by a verb in the infinitive).
    • 2011, C. Dallett Hemphill, Siblings: Brothers and Sisters in American History, ch 3:
      One letter from Deborah presents an especially fascinating contrast with Jane's letters to her brother. Whereas Jane was keen on discussing politics, Deborah was reticent to do so.
    • 2014, Michael Naas, A Companion to Derrida (eds. Zeynep Direk, Leonard Lawlor), p. 236:
      But I would now like to argue that there was for Derrida a privileged site in Ancient Philosophy for this question, one to which Derrida would repeatedly return in his writing and thinking – Socrates’ denigration or denunciation of writing, his attempt in the Phaedrus to exclude writing from thinking and philosophy proper. As I suggested at the outset, this claim regarding Derrida’s relation to the Greeks is one that Derrida himself would have been reticent to accept.
    • 2014, Ray Bull, Investigative Interviewing, p. 3:
      The police may be reticent to charge the alleged offender, prosecutors reticent to continue with the prosecution, and juries reticent to convict.
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