Share this entry
abstruse Syllabification: ab·struse
Pronunciation: /abˈstro͞os/

Definition of abstruse in English:


Difficult to understand; obscure: an abstruse philosophical inquiry
More example sentences
  • Still, this is a Frank Black album, with its obscure references and abstruse lyrics.
  • Is the reader of this text assumed to be put off by difficult, abstruse, theory-driven contemporary art and hungry for work that claims to be more directly understood?
  • Josh's mind boggled in the futile effort to penetrate the abstruse complexity of an esoteric form of thinking that was altogether foreign to him.
obscure, arcane, esoteric, little known, recherché, rarefied, recondite, difficult, hard, puzzling, perplexing, cryptic, enigmatic, Delphic, complex, complicated, involved, over/above one's head, incomprehensible, unfathomable, impenetrable, mysterious


Pronunciation: /abˈstro͞oslē/
Example sentences
  • In exploring each little question raised by the events in Dallas (including many that are settled, in the eyes of every serious scholar), Stone seeks out the most abstrusely nefarious explanation possible…
  • Or, more appropriately, though rather more abstrusely, could she have been thinking of Rumour in Henry IV part 2, which with ‘covert enmity / Under the smile of safety wounds the world’?
  • These range from the abstrusely technical to his Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations, which may be the most widely used introduction to Mahayana Buddhist thought in the English-speaking world.
Pronunciation: /abˈstro͞osnəs/
Example sentences
  • I'd been much, much less attracted by what is perhaps the more public face of philosophy, which is its abstruseness, its complexity, its boringness even.
  • Just hope that abstruseness may be mistaken for erudition.
  • Christian analytical philosophers are scorned by the obtuse for their abstruseness and abstraction, derided for their technical vocabulary, and accused of ‘scholasticism.’


Late 16th century: from Latin abstrusus 'put away, hidden', from abstrudere 'conceal', from ab- 'from' + trudere 'to push'.

Words that rhyme with abstruse

abuse, adduce, Ballets Russes, Belarus, Bruce, burnous, caboose, charlotte russe, conduce, deduce, deuce, diffuse, douce, educe, excuse, goose, induce, introduce, juice, Larousse, loose, luce, misuse, moose, mousse, noose, obtuse, Palouse, produce, profuse, puce, recluse, reduce, Rousse, seduce, sluice, Sousse, spruce, traduce, truce, use, vamoose, Zeus
Definition of abstruse in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Related Words