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Word of the Day : December 10, 2011

compendious

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adjective kum-PEN-dee-us

Definition

: marked by brief expression of a comprehensive matter : concise and comprehensive; also : comprehensive

Examples

A compendious handbook of grammar is a useful reference to have on hand.

"The result is a compendious yet nuanced sketch of the contours of one of the most exemplary artistic careers of the era…." -- From a blog post by Richard Brody at The New Yorker (newyorker.com), November 17, 2011



Did You Know?

In current use, "compendious" is most often applied to things that are full in scope and concise in treatment. But the word also shares a sense of "brief in statement or expression" with synonyms "concise," "terse," "succinct," "pithy," "laconic," and "summary." "Concise" simply 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"). "Pithy" adds the implication of richness of meaning or substance ("pithy one-liners"). "Laconic" implies brevity to the point of seeming rude or indifferent ("a laconic stranger"). "Summary" suggests the stating of main points with no elaboration ("a summary listing of the year’s main events").

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