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reticent
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reticent


She was reticent initially, but eventually she opened up.
  reluctant — especially to speak freely
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reticent reticence reticently
Notes:
Consider using taciturn rather than reticent when the reluctance to speak is a general disposition — rather than a short-term situation brought about by particular circumstance.
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Samples:
  • She was reticent initially, but eventually she opened up.
  • The candidate is reticent to discuss her personal beliefs in a public setting.
  • The affections are more reticent than the passions, and their expression more subtle.
    Forster, E. M.  --  Howards End
  • In short, Mr Blandois found that to pour port wine into the reticent Flintwinch was, not to open him but to shut him up.
    Dickens, Charles  --  Little Dorrit

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  • Pour your heart out to me, Bessie. Don’t be reticent.
    J.D. Salinger  --  Franny and Zooey
  • Max’s roommate seemed on the verge of saying something else but did not. Cooper was not so reticent.
    Henry H. Neff  --  The Fiend And The Forge
  • He took my hand as we walked to the river, which surprised me, as he’s normally reticent to show affection in public.
    Barbara Kingsolver  --  The Poisonwood Bible
  • ...they were wily and cunning and did not directly attack him. Their reticence puzzled Eragon until...
    Christopher Paolini  --  Eldest
  • Anybody meeting him there for the first time might have thought him reticent. Almost timid.
    Arundhati Roy  --  The God of Small Things
  • A reticent fellow, he made no reply.
    E.M. Forster  --  Howards End

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  • Jasper had never been reticent, but now it seemed he had to be talking every waking minute as a means of holding his own fears in balance.
    Larry McMurtry  --  Lonesome Dove
  • "Tell me in ten words or less," she suggested, sensing his reticence.
    Nicholas Sparks  --  The Lucky One
  • a sensitive and reticent boy
    Truman Capote  --  In Cold Blood
  • The youth knew me and had no reticence in talking...
    John Howard Griffin  --  Black Like Me
  • Nasser, reticent by nature, withdrew almost completely.
    Dave Eggers  --  Zeitoun
  • But there was a new reticence to Khanum Taheri’s demeanor.
    Khaled Hosseini  --  The Kite Runner
  • Tracy was reticent;
    Warren St. John  --  Outcasts United
  • Why should she have been so reticent at the time of the tragedy?
    Arthur Conan Doyle  --  The Hound of the Baskervilles
  • she herself has become reticent on the subject, and has not spoken of the Count or his doings ever since we told her of our decision.
    Bram Stoker  --  Dracula
  • ...replying in his heavy reticent way,
    Charles Dickens  --  Great Expectations
  • It was camp policy to give diminished and/or spoiled rations to captives suspected of withholding information, and at times the entire camp’s rations were cut to punish one captive’s reticence.
    Laura Hillenbrand  --  Unbroken
  • Given Jai’s reticence, I knew I had to look honestly at my motivations. Why was this talk so important to me?
    Randy Pausch  --  The Last Lecture
  • But he felt the same reticence about telling Wendy.
    Stephen King  --  The Shining
  • ...if the chaplain’s reticent, unimpressive manner were really just a sinister disguise masking a fiery ambition that...
    Joseph Heller  --  Catch-22
  • I told her what a hoot we all thought it was when these rich guys paid six million for Secretariat after his running days were over ... and then he turned out to be a reticent breeder,
    Barbara Kingsolver  --  The Bean Trees
  • "No, he was kinda reticent about that part of it. Just said the fellow-was out for his blood and meant to get it."
    Agatha Christie  --  Murder On The Orient Express
  • Unlike Kim, who’d been outgoing and gregarious, he’d always been more reticent and blended into crowds.
    Nicholas Sparks  --  The Last Song
  • Too long had he cultivated reticence, aloofness, and moroseness.
    Jack London  --  White Fang
  • any question about her acquaintances brought forth a volume of detail; but on the subject of Ethan Frome I found her unexpectedly reticent.
    Edith Wharton  --  Ethan Frome
  • ...though I saw the mysteriousness and maturity that had always made her attractive, I noticed a hint of sadness and reticence as well.
    Nicholas Sparks  --  Dear John
  • Athos had even gone so far as to question M. de Treville—a thing which, considering the habitual reticence of the worthy Musketeer, had very much astonished his captain.
    Alexandre Dumas  --  The Three Musketeers
  • To an extent, I suppose, his reticence was typical of that part of Minnesota, where privacy still held value, and even if I’d been walking around with some horrible deformity-four arms and three heads-I’m sure the old man would’ve talked about everything except those extra arms and heads.
    Tim O’Brien  --  The Things They Carried
  • His reticence was sufficiently explained for most of us by his voyages,
    Thornton Wilder  --  The Bridge of San Luis Rey
  • even if the most delicate reticence on the point could have been expected from Raveloe gossips in her presence, her own questions about her mother could not have been parried,
    George Eliot  --  Silas Marner
  • But she is reticent,
    F. Scott Fitzgerald  --  Tender is the Night
  • She was quick at understanding the grandmothers who spoke no English, and the most reticent and distrustful of them would tell her their story without realizing they were doing so.
    Willa Cather  --  My Antonia
  • one of our most widespread virtues was a certain reticence concerning personal misfortune.
    Gabriel Garcia Marquez  --  Love in the Time of Cholera
  • It is invariably one of suspicion and the natural result is reticence.
    Agatha Christie  --  The ABC Murders
  • Eleanor was a reticent woman at heart.
    E.M. Forster  --  A Room With A View
  • There was some reticence about entering the new boat, because it had a scroll on it which warned people off unless they were in perfect faith...
    T. H. White  --  The Once and Future King
  • What was your reason for this reticence?
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky  --  The Brothers Karamazov
  • Reasoning on the cause of their reticence he concluded that ... [they] were afraid to broach the subject,
    Thomas Hardy  --  The Mayor of Casterbridge
  • a good deal of mysterious reticence on Mrs. Penniman’s part.
    Henry James  --  Washington Square
  • He a-hemmed again with delicate reticence, and continued:
    F. Scott Fitzgerald  --  This Side of Paradise
  • I could recognise in her ... and reticent advances ... and restraints which had characterised her father.
    Marcel Proust  --  Swann’s Way
  • If he made a cryptic or broad statement, it was best not to challenge him, because then he might grow reticent.
    Tracy Kidder  --  Mountains Beyond Mountains
  • The professional historians of the United States are very reticent in their treatment of these themes.
    Edward E. Hale  --  The Man Without a Country
  • There was no reticence about Mr Johnston’s past.
    Agatha Christie  --  Early Cases Of Hercule Poirot
  • "Yuh—" Then he was pouring it out nakedly, robbed of reticence.
    Sinclair Lewis  --  Babbitt
  • He thought the adieux of Montague and Ada Dyas as fine as anything he had ever seen Croisette and Bressant do in Paris, or Madge Robertson and Kendal in London; in its reticence, its dumb sorrow, it moved him more than the most famous histrionic outpourings.
    Edith Wharton  --  The Age of Innocence
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Associated words [difficulty]:   reticent [3]
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Most commonly used in these subjects:   Classic Literature, Human Behavior, Sports
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