1
2
3

Synonym Chooser

How is the word reticent distinct from other similar adjectives?

Some common synonyms of reticent are reserved, secretive, silent, and taciturn. While all these words mean "showing restraint in speaking," reticent implies a reluctance to speak out or at length, especially about one's own affairs.

was reticent about his plans

In what contexts can reserved take the place of reticent?

The words reserved and reticent are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, reserved implies reticence and suggests the restraining influence of caution or formality in checking easy informal conversational exchange.

greetings were brief, formal, and reserved

When would secretive be a good substitute for reticent?

The words secretive and reticent can be used in similar contexts, but 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

When might silent be a better fit than reticent?

The meanings of silent and reticent largely overlap; however, silent implies a habit of saying no more than is needed.

the strong, silent type

Where would taciturn be a reasonable alternative to reticent?

Although the words taciturn and reticent have much in common, taciturn implies a temperamental disinclination to speech and usually connotes unsociability.

taciturn villagers

Podcast

Thesaurus Entries Near reticent

Cite this Entry

“Reticent.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/reticent. Accessed 30 Nov. 2022.

More from Merriam-Webster on reticent

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ