adjective \ˈtərs\

: brief and direct in a way that may seem rude or unfriendly


Full Definition of TERSE

:  smoothly elegant :  polished
:  using few words :  devoid of superfluity <a terse summary>; also :  short, brusque <dismissed me with a terse “no”>
terse·ly adverb
terse·ness noun

Examples of TERSE

  1. She gave me a few terse instructions and promptly left the room.
  2. <could tell from his terse replies to my questions that he was in no mood to talk>
  3. Everything about him is tidy, from his terse wit to the flecks of gray hair that fall in precise iterations around the edges of his scalp. —Devin Gordon, Newsweek, 29 July 2002

Origin of TERSE

Latin tersus clean, neat, from past participle of tergēre to wipe off
First Known Use: 1601

Synonym Discussion of TERSE

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 TERSE

TERSEST Defined for Kids


adjective \ˈtərs\

Definition of TERSE for Kids

:  being brief and to the point <a terse statement>
terse·ly adverb


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