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adjective, \ˈpi-thē\

Simple Definition of pithy

  • : using few words in a clever and effective way

  • : resembling or having a lot of pith

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of pithy


  1. 1 :  consisting of or abounding in pith(see 1pith)

  2. 2 :  having substance and point :  tersely cogent

pithily play \ˈpi-thə-lē\ adverb
pithiness play \ˈpi-thē-nəs\ noun

Examples of pithy in a sentence

  1. … Gore's prowess had been blurred by his performance in the Quayle debate and by his four preceding years in the Senate, where the prevailing style is indirect and woolly-swathed in layers of “my distinguished colleague” and short on zingers and pithy remarks. —James Fallows, Atlantic, July 2000

  2. I read my poems in L.A., chatted up the literary set, waxed pithy and beleaguered at the book signings and wine and cheese receptions. —Thomas Lynch, The Undertaking, 1997

  3. He does not hold forth to his family or to his court of old men; he listens, … then delivers short, pithy edicts that are then followed. —Guy Martin, Esquire, June 1997

  4. Unlike a great many other science books, the pithy, lyrical text never bogs down in a mudflat of facts. —Leonard S. Marcus, Parenting, December/January 1996

  5. The critic gave the film a pithy review.

  6. The book is filled with pithy sayings about love and loss.

  7. a pithy little Mother's Day card

Origin of pithy

(see 1pith)

First Known Use: 1562

Synonym Discussion of pithy

concise, terse, succinct, laconic, summary, pithy, compendious mean very brief in statement or expression. concise suggests the removal of all that is superfluous or elaborative <a concise description>. terse implies pointed conciseness <a terse reply>. succinct implies the greatest possible compression <a succinct letter of resignation>. laconic implies brevity to the point of seeming rude, indifferent, or mysterious <an aloof and laconic stranger>. summary suggests the statement of main points with no elaboration or explanation <a summary listing of the year's main events>. pithy adds to succinct or terse the implication of richness of meaning or substance <a comedy sharpened by pithy one-liners>. compendious applies to what is at once full in scope and brief and concise in treatment <a compendious dictionary>.

Rhymes with pithy

Seen and Heard

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tending to dismiss important matters

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