brev·​i·​ty | \ˈbre-və-tē \
plural brevities

Definition of brevity 

: shortness of duration especially : shortness or conciseness of expression

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Synonyms & Antonyms for brevity


briefness, conciseness, shortness



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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
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Recent Examples on the Web

Careful textual analysis might yield evidence of Mr. Kavanaugh’s talent in coaxing colleagues into more clarity, greater brevity, and deeper analysis, but would reveal nothing about his personal policy views. Karl Rove, WSJ, "What Kavanaugh Did at the White House," 5 Sep. 2018 Excerpts from the conversation, Affleck's first interview in a year, have been edited for clarity and brevity. Lindsey Bahr, Fox News, "Casey Affleck addresses sexual misconduct claims: I was 'really unprofessional' and 'I'm sorry'," 9 Aug. 2018 Like all social media, YouTube prizes brevity, immediacy, punchiness. Rory Smith, New York Times, "At Manchester United, a Win to Celebrate but Not to Savor," 25 Feb. 2018 The brevity of the press release announcing LeBron James’ contract with the Lakers wasn’t due to the fact that his agency waited until after its meeting with the Sixers to write it. David Murphy,, "How LeBron James' decision may change Sixers' Star Hunt approach | David Murphy," 2 July 2018 The brevity of his outing heaped responsibility for the rest of the night onto the bullpen, which issued seven walks and gave up seven runs. Andy Mccullough,, "Matt Kemp's offensive showing not enough in 11-9 Dodgers' loss to the Pirates," 7 June 2018 The quick-witted rising star pulled from her brand-new Whack World, a 15-song, 15-minute album that makes a virtue of brevity. Dan Deluca,, "Roots Picnic ends early due to weather," 2 June 2018 Among those who trust Fox News the most (let’s just call them Fox News viewers, for the sake of brevity), 86 percent approve of Trump, including half who approve of him strongly. Philip Bump, Washington Post, "Most Americans think Trump hasn’t done enough on Russian interference," 27 Feb. 2018 First, there’s the cunning brevity of the chapters—a hundred and twenty-nine of them—that makes a long story zip by. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "Bill Clinton and James Patterson’s Concussive Collaboration," 3 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'brevity.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of brevity

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for brevity

Latin brevitas, from brevis — see breve

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Statistics for brevity

Last Updated

3 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for brevity

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

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More Definitions for brevity



English Language Learners Definition of brevity

: the use of few words to say something

: the quality or fact of lasting only for a short period of time


brev·​i·​ty | \ˈbre-və-tē \

Kids Definition of brevity

: the condition of being short or brief The concert's brevity disappointed fans.

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More from Merriam-Webster on brevity

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with brevity

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for brevity

Spanish Central: Translation of brevity

Nglish: Translation of brevity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of brevity for Arabic Speakers

Comments on brevity

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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