laconic

adjective
la·​con·​ic | \lə-ˈkä-nik \

Definition of laconic 

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

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Other Words from laconic

laconically \ lə-​ˈkä-​ni-​k(ə-​)lē \ 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
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Recent Examples on the Web

Ezra is quippy and white; Chris (Phillip James Brannon) is dry and black; Pam (Cindy Cheung) is laconic and Asian-American; Jules (Dolly Wells) is irreverent and British. Jesse Green, New York Times, "Review: In ‘Log Cabin,’ It’s Gay vs. Trans as the Rainbow Crumbles," 25 June 2018 The personas do verge on typecasting — Jon Hamm is the dashing insurance man Bob; Jake Johnson, the deadbeat stoner Chilli; Hannibal Buress, the laconic weirdo Sable. Katie Walsh, latimes.com, "Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner and Isla Fisher deliver summer fun in comedy romp 'Tag'," 14 June 2018 Cash, played with laconic charm by Stanfield, is a relatable hero, but Detroit is ill-served by Riley’s script, existing primarily to explain the film’s heavier themes and scold her boyfriend for his ethical lapses. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Sorry to Bother You Is Fizzy, Flawed, and Fascinating," 6 July 2018 Leonard’s ear for dialogue and laconic style, along with a droll sense of humor and just enough field research, combined to make his crime novels endlessly entertaining (apologies for the adverb). Erik Spanberg, The Christian Science Monitor, "'Elmore Leonard: Westerns' celebrates Leonard's mastery of the genre," 5 June 2018 Evelyn is a laconic Elon Musk figure, Winston a Steve Jobs. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "The Incredibles 2 Addresses the State of the Union," 19 June 2018 Jake Johnson is deadbeat stoner Chilli, and Hannibal Buress plays laconic weirdo Sable. Katie Walsh, Detroit Free Press, "Review: Playful ‘Tag’ is summer fluff with a heart," 15 June 2018 In a phone interview from his spread in Santa Barbara, Calif., Costner, 63 and good-naturedly laconic, pondered the allure of the western, Manifest Destiny, and plans for his second act. Kathryn Shattuck, BostonGlobe.com, "Kevin Costner saddles up for a modern-day TV western," 10 June 2018 In a phone interview from his spread in Santa Barbara, Calif., with its baseball field and Pacific view, Mr. Costner, 63 and good-naturedly laconic, pondered the allure of the western, Manifest Destiny and plans for his second act. Kathryn Shattuck, New York Times, "Kevin Costner Revisits the American West, Now by Helicopter," 8 June 2018

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.

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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

The first known use of laconic was in 1589

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More Definitions for laconic

laconic

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of laconic

: using few words in speech or writing

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