Printable Version
Pronunciation: re-kên-dait Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Concealed, mysterious, not readily seen or apprehended. 2. Abstruse, arcane, incomprehensible to all but experts.

Notes: Although the meaning of this word is rather recondite, the word itself is quite pedestrian: the adverb is the expectable reconditely, and the noun, reconditeness. It exhibits no other derivations.

In Play: Since the original meaning of the root of today's word was "to put away", "out of sight" was the original meaning of the word itself: "Intrigued by the recondite inner workings of the curious little machine, Rusty Carr began immediately to take it apart." Today it is used far more widely in the second sense: "R. Cain gets most of his information from recondite sources that are difficult for others to find and check."

Word History: Today's Good Word comes to us from Latin reconditus, the past participle of recondere "to put away", made up of re- "again, back" + condere "to put together, preserve". The base verb here, condere, is itself a complex of con- "together (with)" + dere "to put", which derives from the same primitive root as English do. English also borrowed the past participle of condere as condite "preserved; preserves", a word now considered obsolete. However, incondite "put together, built badly", based on the same Latin verb, still lurks in the deeper depths of the best dictionaries.

Dr. Goodword,

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