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reticent

Reticent means either quiet or restrained. If you're reticent about your feelings, you like to keep them to yourself, and you're probably quiet in rowdy groups where everyone is talking over each other.

The original meaning of reticent describes someone who doesn’t like to talk. Be careful in your context, however. Reticent can refer to someone who is restrained and formal, but it can also refer to someone who doesn’t want to draw attention to herself or who prefers seclusion to other people. Don’t confuse reticent with reluctant, which means unwilling.

Definitions of reticent
  1. adjective
    reluctant to draw attention to yourself
    synonyms: retiring, self-effacing
    unassertive
    inclined to timidity or lack of self-confidence
  2. adjective
    cool and formal in manner
    synonyms: restrained, unemotional
    undemonstrative
    not given to open expression of emotion
  3. adjective
    not inclined to talk or provide information
    synonyms: untalkative
    taciturn
    habitually reserved and uncommunicative
Commonly confused words

reluctant / reticent

Reluctant means resisting or unwilling, while reticent means quiet, restrained, or unwilling to communicate. Is it a distinction worth preserving?

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