Definition of arcane in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɑːˈkeɪn/


Understood by few; mysterious or secret: arcane procedures for electing people
More example sentences
  • The compact libretto used less of the flowery, arcane language that once had seemed a requisite of high style.
  • This is not a task to be undertaken lightly: the language is convoluted and arcane.
  • Here at least, the lyrics are quite clear and not concealed beneath some arcane reference.
mysterious, secret, hidden, concealed, covert, clandestine, enigmatic, dark;
esoteric, obscure, abstruse, recondite, little known, recherché, inscrutable, impenetrable, opaque, incomprehensible, cryptic, occult



Example sentences
  • She had picked up some tips from her father: watch the wool market because it indicates when a Depression is coming; or, more arcanely, keep an eye out for two sure signs that war is on the way: clothes become drab and women wear boots.
  • The legacy of those years is thousands of albums cluttering up our apartment, arcanely filed and catalogued.
  • Thus the big toe has been given some recognition, albeit arcanely, as a special digit.


Mid 16th century: from Latin arcanus, from arcere 'to shut up', from arca 'chest'.

  • ark from Old English:

    Aerc was the Old English word for a chest, from Latin arca ‘a chest or box’. This developed into ark, as in the Ark of the Covenant, the wooden chest in which the tablets of the laws of the ancient Israelites were kept, and the Holy Ark in a synagogue, a chest, or cupboard which contained the scrolls of the Torah or Hebrew scriptures. A ship may be thought of as a floating container, hence Noah's Ark, the vessel built by Noah to escape the Flood. The Latin word is also the source of arcane (mid 16th century), which describes something hidden, concealed, or secret, as if it were shut up in a box, which only a few people can open.

Words that rhyme with arcane

abstain, appertain, arraign, ascertain, attain, Bahrain, bane, blain, brain, Braine, Cain, Caine, campaign, cane, cinquain, chain, champagne, champaign, Champlain, Charmaine, chicane, chow mein, cocaine, Coleraine, Coltrane, complain, constrain, contain, crane, Dane, deign, demesne, demi-mondaine, detain, disdain, domain, domaine, drain, Duane, Dwane, Elaine, entertain, entrain, explain, fain, fane, feign, gain, Germaine, germane, grain, humane, Hussein, inane, Jain, Jane, Jermaine, Kane, La Fontaine, lain, lane, legerdemain, Lorraine, main, Maine, maintain, mane, mise en scène, Montaigne, moraine, mundane, obtain, ordain, Paine, pane, pertain, plain, plane, Port-of-Spain, profane, rain, Raine, refrain, reign, rein, retain, romaine, sane, Seine, Shane, Sinn Fein, skein, slain, Spain, Spillane, sprain, stain, strain, sustain, swain, terrain, thane, train, twain, Ujjain, Ukraine, underlain, urbane, vain, vane, vein, Verlaine, vicereine, wain, wane, Wayne

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ar¦cane

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