Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

abstruse

play
adjective ab·struse \əb-ˈstrüs, ab-\

Simple Definition of abstruse

  • : hard to understand

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of abstruse

  1. :  difficult to comprehend :  recondite <the abstruse calculations of mathematicians>

abstrusely adverb
abstruseness noun

Examples of abstruse in a sentence

  1. Her subject matter is abstruse.

  2. <you're not the only one who finds Einstein's theory of relativity abstruse>



Did You Know?

Look closely at the following Latin verbs, all of which are derived from the verb "trudere" ("to push"): "extrudere," "intrudere," "obtrudere," "protrudere." Each of these Latin verbs has an English descendant whose meaning involves pushing or thrusting. Another "trudere" offspring, abstrudere, meaning "to push away" or "to conceal," gave English abstrude, meaning "to thrust away." But that verb didn't make it past the 17th century. The "abstrudere" descendant that did survive is "abstruse," an adjective that recalls the meaning of its Latin parent abstrusus, meaning "concealed."

Origin of abstruse

Latin abstrusus, from past participle of abstrudere to conceal, from abs-, ab- + trudere to push — more at threat


First Known Use: 1599



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up abstruse? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

the range of perception or understanding

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alt-5746713d76276

Which of these is a synonym of nonplus?

soothe disapprove reduce perplex
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ