la·​con·​ic | \ lə-ˈkä-nik How to pronounce laconic (audio) \

Definition of laconic

: using or involving the use of a minimum of words : concise to the point of seeming rude or mysterious

Other Words from laconic

laconically \ lə-​ˈkä-​ni-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce laconic (audio) \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for laconic

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

Did you know?

Laconia was an ancient country in southern Greece, bordering on the Aegean and the Mediterranean seas. Its capital city was Sparta, and the Spartans were famous for their terseness of speech. Laconic comes to us by way of Latin from Greek Lakōnikos, which is derived from Lakōn, meaning "native of Laconia." It has been with us since the 16th century and has sometimes been used with the basic meaning "of or relating to Laconia or its inhabitants" (though we're more apt to use Laconian for this meaning today). In current use, laconic means "terse" or "concise," and thus recalls the Spartan tendency to use the fewest words possible.

Examples of laconic in a Sentence

We would rather have a smiling, shape-shifting Democrat we don't trust than a frowning, laconic Republican we trust more. — Maureen Dowd, New York Times, 10 Oct. 1996 The closest anyone comes to announcing his destination is a laconic "Guess I'll head on in." — Richard Rhodes, The Inland Ground, 1991 … towards the father—laconic, authoritarian, remote, an immigrant who'd trained in Galicia to be a rabbi but worked in America in a hat factory—their feelings were more confused. — Philip Roth, Granta 24, Summer 1988 He had a reputation for being laconic. the sportscaster's color commentary tends to be laconic but very much to the point
Recent Examples on the Web Tall and blond, with a square jaw and charmingly laconic screen persona, Mr. Hurt was suddenly in great demand. Washington Post, 14 Mar. 2022 But the magic of Richard Linklater, the laconic Texan who gave us modern classics like Before Sunrise and Dazed and Confused, is something else. Leah Greenblatt,, 20 Mar. 2022 ElliQ might suggest jokes to someone who laughs a lot, or keep quieter around a laconic sort. Washington Post, 16 Mar. 2022 Known as Laddie, the shy and laconic Ladd was known as one of Hollywood’s most likable and respected movie executives and producers. Los Angeles Times, 3 Mar. 2022 And Fez gets a visit from another drug dealer who insinuates that laconic Laurie might know about Mouse—the dealer Fez and Ashtray totally smoked. Josh St. Clair, Men's Health, 31 Jan. 2022 The pride of Princeton and America, Bill Bonthron, is matched against laconic Jack Lovelock of New Zealand, Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, who times his sprint to perfection and runs 4:07.6, world record by 1.6sec. Roger Robinson, Outside Online, 5 May 2021 Never at a loss for words, Madden partnered with the laconic Pat Summerall for 21 years, beginning in 1979, calling N.F.L. games for CBS and Fox. New York Times, 29 Dec. 2021 Keem’s breakthrough single heralded the laconic 21-year-old Carson rapper (and Kendrick’s cousin) as SoCal’s hottest new hip-hop voice. Los Angeles Times, 20 Dec. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of laconic

1589, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for laconic

Latin laconicus Spartan, from Greek lakōnikos; from the Spartan reputation for terseness of speech

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Time Traveler for laconic

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The first known use of laconic was in 1589

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Dictionary Entries Near laconic

Laconia, Gulf of



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Last Updated

13 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Laconic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on laconic

Nglish: Translation of laconic for Spanish Speakers


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