re·​served ri-ˈzərvd How to pronounce reserved (audio)
: restrained in words and actions
: kept or set apart or aside for future or special use
reservedly adverb
reservedness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for reserved

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

Examples of reserved in a Sentence

She is a very reserved young woman. The front row is reserved for faculty.
Recent Examples on the Web As soon as the gate opens, some will start strutting their stuff while others are more reserved and will hang back. Brittany Anas, Forbes, 29 Mar. 2024 Meanwhile, peel and finely chop the reserved garlic clove, very finely chop the parsley leaves, and roughly chop the hazelnuts. Cathy Thomas, Orange County Register, 26 Feb. 2024 That glitter epitomizes the sheer joy with which Diggins seems to race, in a sport long dominated by the typically more reserved Scandinavians and Russians. Bill McKibben, The New Yorker, 22 Feb. 2024 Stir a little more lemon juice and olive oil into the reserved turmeric-ginger mixture to thin it out. Melissa Clark, San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 Feb. 2024 With the Hollywood magic stripped away, Hollander lives a reserved lifestyle. Kalia Richardson, Rolling Stone, 14 Feb. 2024 With mixer on low speed, gradually add powdered sugar, alternately with reserved blueberry puree, beating just until combined after each addition. Pam Lolley, Southern Living, 30 Mar. 2024 When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the garlic, celery, onion, bell pepper, and reserved corn, and cook until the onion is translucent, 7–8 minutes. David Guas, Saveur, 28 Mar. 2024 Prices vary for amphitheater tickets, and for reserved seats for the BMO Pavilion, for each show, but cover same-day Summerfest general admission. Journal Sentinel, 21 Mar. 2024

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

Word History

First Known Use

1601, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of reserved was in 1601

Dictionary Entries Near reserved

Cite this Entry

“Reserved.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


re·​served ri-ˈzərvd How to pronounce reserved (audio)
: cautious in words and actions
a reserved young man
: kept or set apart or aside for future or special use
a reserved table
reservedly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on reserved

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