• (Of a person) Reserved or uncommunicative in speech; saying little.

Get a new word in your inbox every day.

By subscribing you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Example Sentences

“Mr. Stevens was usually very taciturn, so when he spoke, we listened carefully.” 

“I’m taciturn around people I don’t know well, but I’m chatty around my friends.” 

“Being taciturn isn’t always a bad thing; I prefer to get my ideas across in writing.”

Word Origin

Latin, late 18th century

Why this word?

“Taciturn” is an adjective commonly applied to a certain type of person — perhaps a curmudgeonly sort of a grump. Synonyms given in the thesaurus include “secretive,” “withdrawn,” “unsociable,” and “sullen.” Why the bad rap? “Taciturn,” meaning “reserved in speech,” comes from the Latin “tacere,” meaning “be silent.” Someone who is quiet and not saying anything might not be grumpy, but they might be shy, or they might not have anything to say. More appropriate synonyms could be “still,” “hushed,” “placid,” and “reserved.”

  • More brands you’ll love

    Elevate Your Everyday

    More brands you’ll love

    Elevate Your Everyday

    Subscribe to Better Report to receive tips and tricks that will save you money, maximize your time, and improve your life.

    Subscribe to Better Report
    By clicking “Subscribe” you’re agreeing to Better Report Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Learn a new word Précis