1 : hidden from sight : concealed
2 : difficult or impossible for one of ordinary understanding or knowledge to comprehend : deep
3 : of, relating to, or dealing with something little known or obscure
Did You Know?
While "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."
"We hear from mathematicians that bees have practically solved a recondite problem, and have made their cells of the proper shape to hold the greatest possible amount of honey, with the least possible consumption of precious wax in their construction." - From Charles Darwin's 1859 book On the Origin of Species
"The week after Michelle Obama went on Jimmy Fallon's 'Late Night' show to present the recondite art of Mom Dancing, her segment doomed Jay Leno in Fallon's favor." - From an article by Jeff Simon in The Buffalo News (New York), December 29, 2013
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Word Family Quiz
Fill in the blanks to create a relative of "recondite" that can mean "to depart secretly": aso_d. The answer is …
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