ar·​cane är-ˈkān How to pronounce arcane (audio)
: known or knowable only to a few people : secret
arcane rites
an arcane ritual
broadly : mysterious, obscure
arcane explanations
arcane technical details

Examples of arcane in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web While such an accusation is serious, there have been many cases of irregularities under Nepal’s arcane citizenship system, some involving judges and generals. Bhadra Sharma, New York Times, 3 June 2024 Here's How to Style Them By Charlie Hobbs Even now, however, the shopping experience can be impenetrably arcane, given the kilt’s obscure-to-many history and, at Kinloch Anderson, the agony of choice. Ross Kenneth Urken, Condé Nast Traveler, 17 Nov. 2023 What the country needs is a vice president who is deeply versed in the arcane fields of diplomacy, intelligence, and military affairs. Neal B. Freeman, National Review, 20 May 2024 As part of an arcane pact with his wealthy boss Raymond (Dafoe) — who bankrolls the couple’s middle-class comfort and sends them lavish gifts of sports memorabilia like a mangled John McEnroe tennis racquet — Robert has basically surrendered all free will. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 17 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for arcane 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'arcane.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from Latin arcānus "secret, private, intimate," from arca "chest, coffer, box" + -ānus -an entry 2 — more at ark

First Known Use

1547, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of arcane was in 1547

Dictionary Entries Near arcane

Cite this Entry

“Arcane.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

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