We Were Reluctant to Bring This Up

We admit it.  We’ve reached the end of our rope with seemingly-educated people telling us that they are reticent to take action, or reticent to drive at night, or reticent to use “reticent” correctly.  “Reticent” means quiet, not liable to communicate thoughts, ideas or feelings readily, shy, reserved.  “Reticent” describes a quiet temperament and does not carry a negative connotation.  In these examples, what should have been said was that they were reluctant to do those things.

“Reluctant” means hesitant to do something, unwilling to do something, resistant to doing something.  “Reluctant” can have a negative connotation, as if the person in question is perhaps stubborn or overscrupulous.  Remember, “reluctant” describes a person’s attitude in a given situation, “reticent” describes a person’s general temperament.

For those of you who were put off by our ending the title of this blog with a preposition, we’re proud of you!

Being a linguistic purist, Winston Churchill is credited with saying, “This is something up with which I shall not put.”  We’re proud of him too!