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

Example Sentences

She is a very reserved young woman. The front row is reserved for faculty.
Recent Examples on the Web Takeoff was quieter, more reserved, and happy to play the background while his uncle entertained a visiting reporter. Simon Vozick-levinson, Rolling Stone, 1 Nov. 2022 Both are a bit reserved at first, and quietly powerful. Laura Zornosa, Time, 28 Oct. 2022 Suri is also adventurous and active, while Willow tends to be more reserved. Maddie Ellis, Chicago Tribune, 4 Nov. 2022 By contrast with her father, an extroverted, backslapping pol, the senator’s demeanor is more reserved. Time, 24 Oct. 2022 But my reaction to the laptop that has been built around this chip is more reserved. Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica, 5 Sep. 2022 The league's expansion to a 17-game regular season – and corresponding reduction of preseason games from four to three – has seemingly prompted teams to be even more reserved in any extended use of starters or key contributors. Michael Middlehurst-schwartz, USA TODAY, 16 Aug. 2022 Voice-first user interfaces should be democratized and egalitarian, not specially reserved for those who are linguistically privileged. Steven Aquino, Forbes, 4 Oct. 2022 Lawn seats are free but a reserved VIP seat in the front will cost $40. Annie Alleman, Chicago Tribune, 9 Sep. 2022 See More

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

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 27 Nov. 2022.

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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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