I'm looking for an adjective which means "few people know" or "only professionals know".

Especially, I want to describe settlement & clearing fields as "__________ fields".

Here is a full sample sentence. "I needed to learn the business model of XXXXX (the name of company which provides clearing services). However, because settlement & clearing is a very _____ field, it was very difficult to research by myself."

I came up with a word "esoteric" and found other posts discussing this word, but I'm not quite sure this word can be applied to context above for the following two reasons. 1. I thought "esoteric" means something like very eccentric hobbies, not formal things. Therefore, if I refer to settlement & clearing as "esoteric fields", it may sound humorous. 2. I'm not sure how frequently this word is used by native speakers.

  • 1
    Why are you not sure about esoteric? Please edit your question to include that as well.
    – Andrew Leach
    Mar 1, 2020 at 12:24
  • 2
    The word "esoteric" is certainly not restricted to describing informal situations and hobbies - why do you think it is?
    – nnnnnn
    Mar 1, 2020 at 13:37
  • 3
    What about "Arcane"?
    – Greybeard
    Mar 1, 2020 at 14:25
  • 3
    Have you considered "specialised" or "specialized" depending on your spelling preference?
    – BoldBen
    Mar 1, 2020 at 15:38
  • 1
    Settlement and clearing are specialized fields related to banking, of the sort of activity performed by the Bank for International Settlements.
    – Xanne
    Mar 2, 2020 at 1:05

4 Answers 4


I’d go with specialized. The knowledge is not arcane or abstruse; it is merely possessed by few people.


(speʃəlaɪzd )

ADJECTIVE Someone or something that is specialized is trained or developed for a particular purpose or area of knowledge. COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers



An abstruse field is one that is

hard to understand; recondite; esoteric


"...only professionals know.", because settlement & clearing is a very _____ field, it was very difficult to research by myself."

A technical field comes to mind.

  • technical - marked by or characteristic of specialization. (technical language)
  • technical - Used in or peculiar to a specific field or profession; specialized: technical jargon. Requiring advanced skills or specialized equipment: technical mountain climbing.
  • It's a job that requires technical knowledge.

  • A book about such technical fields as engineering, physical and applied sciences.


Obscure can work.

relatively unknown


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