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

Keep scrolling for more

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 Lakonikos, which is derived from Lakon, 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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Mankins was the Marlboro Man in shoulder pads from day one, a laconic son of a cattle rancher who was plug-and-play at left guard for just about every day of his nine-year career in New England., "The 15 best Patriots draft picks of the Bill Belichick era," 27 Apr. 2021 Anna Faris gives a laconic performance of epic proportions as Jane, an actress who inadvertently ingests pot cupcakes and sets off on proverbial misadventures. Vulture Editors, Vulture, "101 Trippy Movies, Albums, Books, TV Shows, and More.," 20 Apr. 2021 Writer and star Scott Ryan is a revelation as Ray, who is as laconic and laid back as TV’s other fixer named Ray, Ray Donovan., "Is it snowing where you are? That’s the perfect excuse to spend the day watching these TV shows," 16 Apr. 2021 The Hemingway style -- clipped, allusive, laconic and hard-boiled -- helped give American writing its rhythm and tone as much as blues and jazz helped give American music its global identity. Gene Seymour, CNN, "Why do we still care about Ernest Hemingway?," 13 Apr. 2021 Elba’s character, a laconic gent named Harp, shares his untidy house with a horse, cordoned off in a makeshift living-room stall. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Idris Elba Brings a Regal Urban Cowboy to Life in Concrete Cowboy," 2 Apr. 2021 The voice on tape sounded detached, almost laconic, part of a time capsule describing a bloody day in a forever war that killed untold numbers of combatants and civilians. New York Times, "An Online Museum Shows Life During Wartime," 28 Mar. 2021 Cohn, intense in a black button-down and jeans, was fifty-nine; Frazier, laconic in a sports coat, trousers, and tortoiseshell glasses, was seventy-nine. Joshua Rothman, The New Yorker, "How to Build an Artificial Heart," 1 Mar. 2021 In contrast to the laconic German engineer, Shotwell is bold and effervescent. Eric Berger, Wired, "How Elon Musk Convinced Gwynne Shotwell to Join SpaceX," 2 Mar. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about laconic

Time Traveler for laconic

Time Traveler

The first known use of laconic was in 1589

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about laconic

Statistics for laconic

Last Updated

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Laconic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for laconic



English Language Learners Definition of laconic

: using few words in speech or writing

More from Merriam-Webster on laconic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for laconic

Nglish: Translation of laconic for Spanish Speakers

Comments on laconic

What made you want to look up laconic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!