brev·​i·​ty ˈbre-və-tē How to pronounce brevity (audio)
plural brevities
: shortness of duration
especially : shortness or conciseness of expression

Examples of brevity in a Sentence

Mike Espy resigned under pressure as Secretary of Agriculture yesterday at a news conference remarkable for its brevity and general absence of whining. New York Times, 4 Oct. 1994
Lincoln was able to achieve the loftiness, ideality, and brevity of the Gettysburg Address because he had spent a good part of the 1850s repeatedly relating all the most sensitive issues of the day to the Declaration's supreme principle. Garry Wills, Lincoln At Gettysburg, 1992
The book's brevity is its major defect. Admittedly, readers of military history have been smothered by portentous tomes of a thousand pages or more. But 365 pages are too few to tell the Normandy story. Drew Middleton, New York Times Book Review, 15 Aug. 1982
"Maudie, I'm sure I don't know what you mean," said Mrs. Merriweather. "I'm sure you do," Miss Maudie said shortly. She said no more. When Miss Maudie was angry, her brevity was icy. Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, 1960
The book's major flaw is its brevity. the best quality a graduation speech can have is brevity See More
Recent Examples on the Web The interview transcript has been edited for clarity and brevity. Brad Branan, Sacramento Bee, 21 Feb. 2024 The process is like a slowly maturing whisky, and standing in the thick of Flow Country puts the brevity of life into perspective. Aaron Hicklin, Travel + Leisure, 19 Jan. 2024 His backpacking adventures through nine countries underscored the brevity of life and the importance of pursuing one's passions. Chris Gallagher, USA TODAY, 16 Jan. 2024 This combination of brevity and bloat means there’s little time to cultivate character dynamics or a larger narrative, but plenty of space to cram in as many dropped R’s as possible. Alison Herman, Variety, 11 Jan. 2024 Dismiss her brevity as cuteness and vibes, but her concision feels like an artful rejoinder to our daily data glut. Chris Richards, Washington Post, 2 Feb. 2024 As the story unfolds, the mother must learn to make her peace with and accept the brevity of her daughter’s time on Earth in an emotionally devastating drama about the echoes of loss and finding resilience in the unexpected. Diego Ramos Bechara, Variety, 25 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'brevity.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin brevitas, from brevis — see breve

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of brevity was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near brevity

Cite this Entry

“Brevity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


brev·​i·​ty ˈbrev-ət-ē How to pronounce brevity (audio)
: the condition of being brief

More from Merriam-Webster on brevity

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