Word of the Day : August 29, 2018


adjective TASS-uh-tern


: temperamentally disinclined to talk

Did You Know?

Taciturn shows up in English in the first half of the 18th century. James Miller, a British clergyman educated at Oxford, gives an early example of its use in his 1734 satiric drama, wherein a character describes a nephew with the following: "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 Latin 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 at least the mid-17th century. And we've had the noun taciturnity, meaning "habitual silence," since at least the mid-15th century.


"The waiter, previously friendly and good-humored, was tonight solemn and taciturn." — Taylor Stevens, The Informationist, 2011

"One was taciturn and steady; the other was volatile and virtuosic. When Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe met in the Wimbledon singles final in 1980, they provided a compelling study in contrasts, both in personality and playing style." — Andrew R. Chow, The New York Times, 5 July 2018

Word Family Quiz

Unscramble the letters to create a synonym of taciturn that is also derived from the Latin verb tacēre: IETRENTC.



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