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 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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web But the authors also reported that denizens of the slopes scored lower for other traits, such as agreeableness and extraversion—in keeping with the stereotype of the laconic individualist that has often been portrayed in Westerns. Emily Willingham, Scientific American, "Mountain Peaks Seem to Shape Personality Traits in the American West," 8 Sep. 2020 The characters’ emotions are raw but the writing is flat, laconic and almost pathologically suppressed, as though the syntax itself had suffered some kind of trauma. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: A Designated Mourner," 4 Sep. 2020 So Waters, a laconic 34-year-old who had fought in France during World War I, led a couple hundred of his fellow former servicemen on a 3,000-mile trek from Portland to Washington, D.C. oregonlive, "Oregon WWI vet led 20,000-strong Bonus Army in 1932 that marched on nation’s capital, met brutal resistance," 14 Aug. 2020 Sheil, who is essentially the Meryl Streep of the micro-indie movie world, is a fascinating actor, with doleful blue eyes and a sense of quiet interiority that creates for a magnetically laconic screen presence. Katie Walsh,, "‘She Dies Tomorrow’ review: A bold, evocative story of a plague that is an idea that brings a final knowledge," 5 Aug. 2020 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

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

15 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Laconic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for laconic


How to pronounce laconic (audio)

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

Here Be Dragons: A Creature Identification Quiz

  • monster werewolf photo
  • Which is a synonym of werewolf?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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