Word of The Day for Wednesday, November 3, 2010


rec•on•dite (REK-uhn-dahyt)  adj

1. hidden from sight, concealed
2. difficult or impossible for one of ordinary understanding or knowledge to comprehend, deep
3. of, relating to, or dealing with something little known or obscure

reconditeness noun;  reconditely adverb

Synonyms: abstruse, arcane, deep, esoteric, hermetic, mysterious, secret
Related Words: scoundrel, condiment, abscond

Sentence Examples:
• There were over thirty dishes on the emblazoned menu, and of course I had wanted something that was not on it: a peculiar rusk, a rusk recondite and unheard of by my fellow-diners. The man had hopefully said that he "would see." And here lay the rusk, magically obtained. I felicitated him, as an equal. -Your United States, Arnold Bennett 1912

• Alan Merrick drew back with a vague gesture of distaste. "Oh, thank you," he replied; "but, do you know, I don't think I like deans, Mrs. Dewsbury." Mrs. Dewsbury's smile was recondite and diplomatic. "Then you'll exactly suit one another," she answered with gay wisdom. "For, to tell you the truth, I don't think SHE does either."  -The Woman Who Did, Grant Allen, 1895

• To the recognition of the apocalyptic fact that a workman can only be known by his work, and that without examination of his method and material that work can hardly be studied to much purpose, they have yet to add the knowledge of a further truth no less recondite and abstruse than this; that as the technical work of a painter appeals to the eye, so the technical work of a poet appeals to the ear. -A Study of Shakespeare, Algernon Charles Swinburne, 1918

The Storyline
"Hello, Mother," Anna answered the phone recognizing the caller ID.
"Hello, Angel," Anna's mother replied, her tone both sincere and recondite in its intentions at the same time.

1649; from L. reconditus, pp. of recondere "store away," from re- "away, back" + condere "to store, hide, put together," from con- "together" + -dere "to put, place," comb. form of dare "to give". Meaning "removed from ordinary understanding, profound" is from 1650s; of writers or sources, "obscure," it is recorded from 1817

Sources: Merriam-Webster, Online Etymology

Why This Word:
Recondite means hidden. It's three meanings might be understood as hidden from sight, hidden from understanding and hidden by time or unfamiliarity. But we probably would not say that a child playing hide-and-seek is recondite. Recondite doesn't seem to carry the sense of hidden by act of deliberate physical removal and concealment by someone, but rather a more metaphorical hiding - hidden by the nature of the thing, a thought hidden by being kept inside.
The root condere "to store, hide" gives recondite some interesting relatives: scoundrel (to hide oneself), abscond (to hide away) and condiment (from condire "to preserve, pickle, season," variant of condere "to put away, store".)

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

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