The meaning of recondite has been well-hidden from me for a long time. It’s not often I see a word and haven’t got a clue as to its meaning. I spotted recondite in a sentence a few days ago and just had to look it up.
Back to Merriam- Webster for this week’s source:
adjective re·con·dite \ˈre-kən-ˌdīt, ri-ˈkän-\
Popularity: Top 30% of words
: difficult or impossible for one of ordinary understanding or knowledge to comprehend : deep <a recondite subject>
: of, relating to, or dealing with something little known or obscure <recondite fact about the origin of the holiday — Floyd Dell>
: hidden from sight : concealed
Examples in a sentence
<geochemistry is a recondite subject>
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.”
Origin and Etymology
Latin reconditus, past participle of recondere to conceal, from re- + condere to store up, from com- + -dere to put — more at com-, do
First Known Use: 1619
abstruse, arcane, deep, esoteric, hermetic (also hermetical), profound
erudite, learned, scholarly; academic (also academical), pedantic; complex, complicated, hard; darkling, enigmatic (also enigmatical), inscrutable, mysterious, mystic, mystical, orphic, uncanny; impenetrable, incomprehensible, unfathomable, unintelligible; ambiguous, cryptic; unanswerable, unknowable; baffling, bewildering, confounding, confusing, disorienting, mystifying, perplexing, puzzling
Most recent Facebook comment:
Alan Norman · St. Louis
“Fourier’s theorem is not only one of the most beautiful results of modern analysis, but it may be said to furnish an indispensable instrument in the treatment of nearly every recondite question in modern physics”, Lord Kelvin as quoted by Robert Bracewell.
Like · Reply · Feb 1, 2017 4:30am
Exactly Mr. Norman 🙂