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 But after pushing back their initial album release several months, has finally arrived, filling in some of those blanks left by their laconic origin story. Lindsay Zoladz, Washington Post, "Coriky is the sound of D.C.’s punk past landing squarely in the present," 12 June 2020 Judging from his recent clips, the laconic and unemotional McConnell is the true stable genius of our time. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "Mitch McConnell Is No Genius," 10 June 2020 Suharto, a laconic forty-four-year-old major general from Central Java, was serving as head of the Army’s Strategic Command, or KOSTRAD. Vincent Bevins, The New York Review of Books, "How ‘Jakarta’ Became the Codeword for US-Backed Mass Killing," 20 May 2020 That laconic transmission response is at odds with the aggressive throttle response, which prompts the Atlas to squawk its tires when launching from a standstill if the initial throttle tip-in is even slightly too eager. Eric Stafford, Car and Driver, "The 2021 Volkswagen Atlas Satisfies the Brady Bunches of America and Bolsters VW's Bottom Line," 15 May 2020 Reeves’s laconic style is a perfect fit for the cynical antihero, and Rachel Weisz thrives in twin roles as sisters on either side of an infernal crime Constantine is called to investigate. David Sims, The Atlantic, "30 Underrated Films You Should Revisit," 10 Apr. 2020 In the 20th-century tradition, strong men were supposed to be laconic, stoical, self-effacing. . . . WSJ, "Notable & Quotable: Strong Men," 30 Jan. 2020 But at the core of each is that same laconic hero, the volatile outsider who bends the rules (in Harry’s case) or shatters them (in Doron’s) in order to uphold a status quo that’s showing serious signs of wear. Mike Hale, New York Times, "‘Bosch’ and ‘Fauda’: The Platonic Ideal of the Tough Guy," 16 Apr. 2020 Four years later, when the on NBC-TV, Mr. Drury brought more restraint to the part, playing a laconic foreman of the Shiloh ranch in 1890s Wyoming. Matt Schudel, Washington Post, "James Drury, star of long-running TV western ‘The Virginian,’ dies at 85," 7 Apr. 2020

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of laconic was in 1589

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Last Updated

23 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Laconic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for laconic


How to pronounce laconic (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of laconic

: using few words in speech or writing

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More from Merriam-Webster on laconic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for laconic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with laconic

Spanish Central: Translation of laconic

Nglish: Translation of laconic for Spanish Speakers

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