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

taciturn

play
adjective tac·i·turn \ˈta-sə-ˌtərn\

Simple Definition of taciturn

  • : tending to be quiet : not speaking frequently

Full Definition of taciturn

  1. :  temperamentally disinclined to talk

tac·i·tur·ni·ty play \ˌta-sə-ˈtər-nə-tē\ noun

Examples of taciturn

  1. I went on speech strike … remaining defiantly taciturn through a procession of speech therapists and psychotherapists, verbalizing only to the gardener and swearing him to silence. —Simon Schama, New Republic, 22 July 2002

  2. The pipe-smoking Malcolm Cowley … though a faithful fellow-traveller, was too taciturn usually to show his hand. —Mary McCarthy, Granta 27, Summer 1989

  3. She was a small, taut, pale, wiry London girl, alarmingly taciturn, demon at basketball (at which she captained us) … —Elizabeth Bowen, The Mulberry Tree, 1986

  4. When he got to the substation that night, this private taciturn fellow had to spill his guts. If he didn't tell somebody, he might blow like a land mine. —Joseph Wambaugh, Lines and Shadows, 1984

  5. a somewhat taciturn young man

  6. <a taciturn man, he almost never initiates a conversation>



Origin of taciturn

French or Latin; French taciturne, from Middle French, from Latin taciturnus, from tacitus (see tacit)


First Known Use: 1734

Synonym Discussion of taciturn

silent, taciturn, reticent, reserved, secretive mean showing restraint in speaking. silent implies a habit of saying no more than is needed <the strong, silent type>. taciturn implies a temperamental disinclination to speech and usually connotes unsociability <taciturn villagers>. reticent implies a reluctance to speak out or at length, especially about one's own affairs <was reticent about his plans>. reserved implies reticence and suggests the restraining influence of caution or formality in checking easy informal conversational exchange <greetings were brief, formal, and reserved>. secretive, too, implies reticence but usually carries a suggestion of deviousness and lack of frankness or of an often ostentatious will to conceal <the secretive research and development division>.


Seen and Heard

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

WORD OF THE DAY

February 6, 2016

an official order, decree, or edict

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image1037863653

Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

kittly-benders duvet pince-nez spindrift
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ