from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Not easily understood; abstruse. See Synonyms at ambiguous.
  • adj. Concerned with or treating something abstruse or obscure: recondite scholarship.
  • adj. Concealed; hidden.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Hidden from the mental or intellectual view; secret; abstruse.
  • adj. Dealing in things abstruse; profound; searching.
  • adj. Difficult to understand; known only by experts.
  • adj. Of a person: highly talented, a master of a field.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Hidden from the mental or intellectual view; secret; abstruse.
  • adj. Dealing in things abstruse; profound; searching.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Hidden from mental view; secret; abstruse: as, recondite causes of things.
  • Profound; dealing with things abstruse.
  • In botany, concealed; not easily seen.
  • In entomology, said of organs which are concealed in repose: opposed to exserted.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. difficult to penetrate; incomprehensible to one of ordinary understanding or knowledge


Latin reconditus, past participle of recondere, to put away : re-, re- + condere, to put together, preserve; see dhē- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin reconditus ("hidden, concealed"), past participle adjective of recondo ("to put back, re-establish; to hide away"). (Wiktionary)


  • Meanwhile, the presence of Pietro d'Abano80 and Hippocrates reflects a special interest at Urbino in recondite principles of astrobiological medicine and its capacity to temper the constitutions of individuals.

    Architecture and Memory: The Renaissance Studioli of Federico da Montefeltro

  • Park in miles, in yards, and in acres, and the number of head of cattle which could be accommodated therein if it were to be utilized for grazing -- that is, turned into grass lands; or, if transformed into tillage, the number of small farmers who would be the proprietors of economic holdings -- that is, a recondite -- that is, an abstruse and a difficult scientific and sociological term.

    Mary, Mary

  • It's never helped me with the capital of Tajikistan or the definition of "recondite," but apparently it's got the goods on my hang-ups.

    Listen To My Body? I Don't Think So

  • Like, the other day, in a social situation, somebody used the word "recondite" in conversation.

    Archive 2007-04-01

  • "It served as a kind of recondite, East Village version of camp, classical Hollywood." Daily News

  • To him, a perfectly unintelligible will is a thing of beauty and a joy for ever; especially if associated with some kind of recondite knavery. "

    The Eye of Osiris

  • For a popular treatment of the somewhat recondite underpinnings of this thesis, see R.

    The Language Monitor

  • Yet the most recondite and potentially entertaining proposal in Scotland last week crept in unnoticed at the back door while everyone was trying to unravel Salmond's statutory orgy.

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  • But there is laughter, too, in this little nation: complicated laughter, recondite and full of nuance, and adored — strangely — by Americans.

    Brit Wit

  • That's what the Eternal Word Television Network has accomplished in the three decades it's been in existence; put recondite dogma of the Roman Catholic Church just a click of the remote away from suburban Protestant infidels whose “ministers” allow them to take the entire summer off from church attendance!

    My Stigmata


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  • difficult to penetrate; incomprehensible to one of ordinary understanding or knowledge

    I found Ulysses recondite and never finished the book, waiting instead to read it with someone else so we could penetrate its meaning together

    October 12, 2016

  • From p. 25 of Patrick Leigh Fermor's "A Time to Keep Silence":

    Several monks were usually working in the library, reading and writing at the desks, or climbing the ladders in pursuit of recondite knowledge.

    January 21, 2014

  • I recall this as an SAT-prep word

    August 16, 2008

  • "...having sailed with Captain Aubrey since the turn of the century... he could now almost always discriminate between larboard and starboard: he prided himself extremely on his acquaintance with fore and aft and some even more recondite nautical terms."
    --Patrick O'Brian, The Ionian Mission, 18

    February 11, 2008

  • From

    Is not such recondite reasoning, leading to such opaque conclusions about such baroque regulations of speech, prima facie evidence of incompatibility with the austere brevity of the First Amendment?

    Could we find a more pompous ass passage this year? I don't think so. Of course, Bill Bennett is still out there.

    January 29, 2007