Part of speech: adjective
Origin: Latin, mid-16th century
Requiring knowledge only known to a few people
Obscure or mysterious
Examples of Arcane in a sentence
"Admittance to the arcane branch of study at the university was limited to a few people a year."
"Her interest in arcane artifacts was rooted in her love of medieval history."
Popularity Over Time
"Arcane" may have a flavor of the occult about it, but it doesn’t necessarily mean something associated with witchcraft. Instead, a more appropriate synonym is "esoteric," which is used to describe things understood by only a select few.
Did you Know?
You might think all knowledge is meant to be shared, but the roots of "arcane" imply a secretive nature. The Latin word "arcānus" means "secret or hidden," and that comes from "arceō," which implies to shut something up, as if in a chest. Talk about keeping it all to yourself.