taciturn

adjective
tac·​i·​turn | \ ˈta-sə-ˌtərn How to pronounce taciturn (audio) \

Definition of taciturn

: temperamentally disinclined to talk

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Other Words from taciturn

taciturnity \ ˌta-​sə-​ˈtər-​nə-​tē How to pronounce taciturnity (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

How Should You Use taciturn?

We first find "taciturn" in a satiric drama written in 1734 by James Miller, a British clergyman educated at Oxford. A character describes a nephew thus: "When he was little, he never was what they call Roguish or Waggish, but was always close, quiet, and taciturn." It seems we waited unduly long to adopt this useful descendent of the verb tacēre, meaning "to be silent" - we were quicker to adopt other words from the "tacēre" family. We’ve been using "tacit," an adjective meaning "expressed without words" or "implied," since the mid-17th century. And we’ve had the noun taciturnity, meaning "habitual silence," since at least 1450.

Examples of taciturn in a Sentence

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 The pipe-smoking Malcolm Cowley … though a faithful fellow-traveller, was too taciturn usually to show his hand. — Mary McCarthy, Granta 27, Summer 1989 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 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 a somewhat taciturn young man a taciturn man, he almost never initiates a conversation
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Recent Examples on the Web

Related Articles Known as the quiet Stone, for his taciturn ways and avoidance of at least some of the excesses of the rock star life, Wyman more than lives up to the title of the film. Michael O'sullivan, Twin Cities, "Ex-Rolling Stone Bill Wyman opens up his archive — but not much else — in this ho-hum documentary," 4 July 2019 No longer an only child with ample urban comforts, she must get used to a hardscrabble life in the Abruzzo countryside, with taciturn parents who beat their offspring and cruel brothers who torment her. The Economist, "The story of a lost girl," 29 June 2019 Paul is effusive and almost bubbly, while Fred is more taciturn and tends to let Paul run, interrupting only when corrections are necessary. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, "Video: How Star Control II was almost a much more boring game," 27 Dec. 2018 Paul is effusive and almost bubbly, while Fred is more taciturn and tends to let Paul run, interrupting only when corrections are necessary. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, "Video: How Star Control II was almost a much more boring game," 27 Dec. 2018 Paul is effusive and almost bubbly, while Fred is more taciturn and tends to let Paul run, interrupting only when corrections are necessary. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, "Video: How Star Control II was almost a much more boring game," 27 Dec. 2018 Paul is effusive and almost bubbly, while Fred is more taciturn and tends to let Paul run, interrupting only when corrections are necessary. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, "Video: How Star Control II was almost a much more boring game," 27 Dec. 2018 Paul is effusive and almost bubbly, while Fred is more taciturn and tends to let Paul run, interrupting only when corrections are necessary. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, "Video: How Star Control II was almost a much more boring game," 27 Dec. 2018 Paul is effusive and almost bubbly, while Fred is more taciturn and tends to let Paul run, interrupting only when corrections are necessary. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, "Video: How Star Control II was almost a much more boring game," 27 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'taciturn.' 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 taciturn

1734, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for taciturn

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

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Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for taciturn

The first known use of taciturn was in 1734

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More Definitions for taciturn

taciturn

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of taciturn

formal : tending to be quiet : not speaking frequently

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More from Merriam-Webster on taciturn

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with taciturn

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for taciturn

Spanish Central: Translation of taciturn

Nglish: Translation of taciturn for Spanish Speakers

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