VCR Lesson 1 Presentation

Erin Holtzapple

Fill in the blank with the most appropriate word from lesson 1

Many people find legal documents to be _________, because they have limited knowledge of legal jargon.
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The Word

abstruse (adj.)

Difficult to understand; complex

Abstruseness can be used in the form of a noun.

Its Roots

ab (L.) "away from"

trudere (L.) "to push" or "to thrust"

"Abstruse" comes from the Latin word "abstrusus" which means to thrust away.


  • Perplexing
  • Abstract
  • Complicated
  • Intricate
  • Obscure


  • Clear
  • Concrete
  • Easy
  • Obvious
  • Simple

Abstruse vs. Obtuse

Abstruse is commonly confused with obtuse, perhaps because they sound alike, or people are thinking of the synonym obscure.

Abstruse is used in the context of a written, sung, or spoken text, and it means "difficult to understand."

Obtuse is used to refer to a person or a physical object, and it means "not pointed" or "simpleminded; imperceptive."

Choose the letter of the sentence in which the word in bold-faced types is used incorrectly.

a) The assembly instructions provided by IKEA were so abstruse that the couple threw out the cabinet they were trying to put together in frustration.

b) Tom found his AP Psychology class to be abstruse; he never studied yet received A's on every exam he took.

c) Chemistry, in its abstruseness and complexity, is difficult to understand.

d) Although I was listening closely to what the doctor said, I could not understand his abstruse explanation.

The correct answer is b. In this sentence, abstruse means easy, which is an antonym of the correct definition of abstruse.