Part of speech:
(Adjectives are describing words, like “large” or “late.”
They can be used in two ways:
1. Right before a noun, as in “abstruse research.”
2. After a linking verb, as in "The research was abstruse.”)
Something abstruse is too deep and complicated for regular people to understand it.
abstrusely, abstrusity (meaning either the thing that's abstruse or the quality of being abstruse), abstrusities, abstruseness
Knowing the roots for this word can really help you learn it. "Abs" means "away" and "trus" means "thrust/push," so something abstruse has been, figuratively, shoved away into the deepest pits of knowledge where practically nobody can get to it.
How to use it:
"Abstruse" almost always has a negative feeling. (Calling something abstruse is not a compliment.)
Talk about abstruse ideas and theories and topics, abstruse arguments or disputes, abstruse calculations or processes, abstruse literature, abstruse philosophies or mathematics or linguistics (etc.), abstruse political or legal issues, abstruse research topics and specialties in academics, abstruse medical terminology, abstruse computer coding, and so on. And yes, abstruse vocabulary words.
The thesis she was presenting (something about clarifying sub-subtypes of a rare and mild learning disability) was so abstruse that I nearly giggled aloud as she finished by saying, "These conclusions fill an important gap in the literature and will have a profound effect on society."
I love abstruse words, like "logomachy" and "margaritaceous," but dropping one into conversation would be as awkward as wearing a ball gown to Target.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "abstruse” means when you can explain it without saying “profound" or “hard."
Think of something you've struggled to understand, and fill in the blanks: "I can understand _____, but I'm baffled by the abstruse _____."
Example: "I can understand the first few chapters in a college chemistry textbook, but I'm baffled by the abstruse diagrams that seem to pop up by Chapter 3."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month's game content is protected by a copyright, so I can't reprint the trivia questions here--but check out the thoughtful and thorough reference book that I got them from: Last Words of Notable People!
A Point Well Made:
Anne McCray Sullivan, talking about her mom, a marine biologist: “She taught me the rhythms of tide and regeneration, and the syllables of the natural world rubbing against each other. In doing so, she made me a poet.”
1. The opposite of ABSTRUSE is
2. Math gets a little too abstruse for me when _____
A. the homework requires solving the same type of problem over and over.
B. there aren't even numbers in it anymore, just symbols and Greek letters.
C. I made a mistake way back in the first step of a multi-step problem and have to start over.
Answers are below.
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Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Answers to review questions:
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