brev·​i·​ty | \ ˈbre-və-tē How to pronounce brevity (audio) \
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

The brevity of his response also reflects a no-nonsense honesty that’s appreciated by reporters. Joe Nguyen, The Denver Post, "Let Tom McMahon explain what’s different about Broncos head coach Vic Fangio," 7 June 2019 The brevity of America’s history is exemplified by Holmes, who was born in 1840 and died in 1935. Fay Vincent, WSJ, "Old Acquaintances Help Us Remember History," 30 Dec. 2018 Everyone Who Has Left The Trump Administration (So Far) To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that : 0%: 0% How did the fleecy fascinator of yore become the blown-on brevity of today? Laura Jacobs, Vanities, "A Brief History of Fascinators, the Haiku of Hats," 9 May 2018 But one of the things that Axios specializes in obviously is what you guys would describe as smart brevity. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Axios’ Jonathan Swan explains what the press gets wrong about the Trump administration," 6 Dec. 2018 This interview that has been edited for brevity and clarity. Jeff Baker, The Seattle Times, "In the Neil Armstrong biography that inspired ‘First Man,’ author James R. Hansen draws a down-to-earth portrait," 28 Nov. 2018 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

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

18 Jun 2019

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 How to pronounce brevity (audio) \

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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