re·​con·​dite | \ ˈre-kən-ˌdīt How to pronounce recondite (audio) , ri-ˈkän- How to pronounce recondite (audio) \

Definition of recondite

1 : difficult or impossible for one of ordinary understanding or knowledge to comprehend : deep a recondite subject
2 : of, relating to, or dealing with something little known or obscure recondite fact about the origin of the holiday— Floyd Dell
3 : hidden from sight : concealed

Other Words from recondite

reconditely adverb
reconditeness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for recondite



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While the adjective recondite may be used to describe something difficult to understand, there is nothing recondite about the word's history. It dates to the early 1600s, when it was coined from the synonymous Latin word reconditus. Recondite is one of those underused but useful words that's always a boon to one's vocabulary, but take off the re- and you get something very obscure: condite is an obsolete verb meaning both "to pickle or preserve" and "to embalm." If we add the prefix in- to condite we get incondite, which means "badly put together," as in "incondite prose." All three words have Latin condere at their root; that verb is translated variously as "to put or bring together," "to put up, store," and "to conceal."

Examples of recondite in a Sentence

geochemistry is a recondite subject
Recent Examples on the Web Whole dissertations could be — and in all likelihood have been — written on the recondite vocabulary that surrounds Jewish bagelry. New York Times, 17 Dec. 2021 Muldoon’s own work is witty, full of wordplay, often recondite. Charles Finch, Los Angeles Times, 22 Dec. 2021 For students drowning in recondite texts about feminism, media and Marxism, Kruger’s work cut through the theoretical verbiage with razor-sharp epigrams. Washington Post, 4 Oct. 2021 Many seem like remnants from a circa-2000 vogue for recondite, inscrutable maps and diagrams, produced by artists like Matthew Ritchie, Mark Lombardi and Franz Ackermann. Jason Farago, New York Times, 25 Mar. 2021 Her methods might at first glance seem forbiddingly recondite, but the effect of her music is visceral and immediate. Matthew Aucoin, The New York Review of Books, 7 Dec. 2019 Any program that did would be too recondite to stay on the air, the work of David Lynch being a glorious exception. Christian Lorentzen, Harper's magazine, 10 Apr. 2019 There are more recondite practices, such as classical and biblical names (Sophocles’ and Jesus’), but this set is the basics. John E. Mcintyre,, 6 June 2018 Like other technology conceived for recondite purpose but found to have broad application, the air around the blockchain is thick with analogy and metaphor. Stephen Phillips, San Francisco Chronicle, 1 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'recondite.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of recondite

1619, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for recondite

Latin reconditus, past participle of recondere to conceal, from re- + condere to store up, from com- + -dere to put — more at com-, do

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The first known use of recondite was in 1619

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Last Updated

13 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Recondite.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2022.

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English Language Learners Definition of recondite

: not understood or known by many people

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Nglish: Translation of recondite for Spanish Speakers


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