So the definition of reticent is “to be unwilling to talk about your thoughts or feelings” and the definition of reticence is “the unwillingness to do sth or talk about sth”.


The definition of « la reticence » est

  1. Omission délibérée ce que l'on pourrait ou devrait dire (= the deliberate omission of what one could or should say).


  1. l’attitude de qn qui hésite à dire expressément sa pensée (= the attitude of sb who hesitated to say his thought with a well defined intention.

Lastly, if qqn est réticent alors cette personne manifeste de la réticence.

I’ve chosen to learn the words « la réticence » and « réticent(e) » and I’m happy memorising the definitions given by the French dictionaries. Also, because Collins dictionary is saying that reticence = la réticence and reticent = réticent(e), I’ll also memorise this. But honestly, by reading the French and English definitions, I’m not convinced that reticence = la réticence and reticent = réticent(e).

Am I wrong to say that Collins dictionary is wrong here, that reticence ≠ la réticence and reticent ≠ réticent(e)?

  • The Academy's dictionary, despite its institutional clout, is quite garbage. You're better off referring to the TLFi (cnrtl.fr/definition/r%C3%A9ticence or even to the modern commercial dictionaries like Robert or Larousse Dec 30, 2020 at 12:19

1 Answer 1


The Collins definition would perfectly apply to the French réticent and réticence.

I wouldn't blame the Cambridge dictionary then for the discrepancies but more the Dictionnaire de l'Académie who condemns the usual meaning and defends a forgotten one.

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