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

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Other Words from laconic

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

Crais has written 21 novels, 16 of them featuring private investigator Elvis Cole and his laconic ex-cop partner, Joe Pike. Carol Kovach,, "Ridgewood Garden Club, city spruce up herb, flower gardens at Stearns Homestead: Sun Postings," 6 Aug. 2019 Close watchers will recall that this is a new stint for the laconic Keith who worked at The Palace, that video arcade where the kids hung out and played games like Dragon’s Lair and Dig Dug back in season 2. Time, "Let's Discuss the 10 Big Questions We Have After Binging Stranger Things Season 3," 4 July 2019 Most of the same gang is back this time: Kevin Hart as the fluffy white bunny Snowball, Eric Stonestreet as the goofy giant Newfoundland, Lake Bell as the laconic cat Chloe and Jenny Slate as the plucky Pomeranian Gidget. Mark Kennedy, Houston Chronicle, "‘The Secret Life of Pets 2’ is a well-crafted sequel," 6 June 2019 The soundtrack is fueled by the laconic rock of the era, from Weezer to Oasis. Andrew R. Chow, New York Times, "What’s on TV Friday: ‘Irreplaceable You’ and ‘Mozart in the Jungle’," 16 Feb. 2018 At Ashley Williams, hair made laconic, stick-up statements—witch and devil among them—a punkish alternative to the sumptuous and saccharine crowns secured at Simone Rocha. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "5 Spectacular Beauty Trends That Swept the London Runways This Week," 19 Sep. 2018 The stereotypical star cornerback talks and talks and talks, but Grimes is a reserved, laconic homebody who ducks cameras and stays off social media. Jack Dickey,, "Grimes Against Humanity: How Brent and Miko navigate their world of social media and the NFL," 13 July 2017 He’s well matched by a laconic but present Robert Pattinson as Fawcett’s trusty sidekick, and by Sienna Miller, who plays Fawcett’s wife, Nina., "The Lost City of Z," 11 Apr. 2017 The trilogy displays one of Di Benedetto’s most distinctive characteristics—his laconic prose. Benjamin Kunkel, The New Yorker, "A Neglected South American Masterpiece," 23 Jan. 2017

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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Last Updated

15 Aug 2019

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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



English Language Learners Definition of laconic

: using few words in speech or writing

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More from Merriam-Webster on laconic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with laconic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for laconic

Spanish Central: Translation of laconic

Nglish: Translation of laconic for Spanish Speakers

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