\ ˈpith How to pronounce pith (audio) \

Definition of pith

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a usually continuous central strand of spongy tissue in the stems of most vascular plants that probably functions chiefly in storage
b : any of various loose spongy plant tissues that resemble true pith
c : the soft or spongy interior of a part of the body
2a : the essential part : core
b : substantial quality (as of meaning)


pithed; pithing; piths

Definition of pith (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to kill (an animal) by piercing or severing the spinal cord pith cattle
b : to destroy the spinal cord or central nervous system of (an animal, such as a frog) usually by passing a wire or needle up and down the spinal canal
2 : to remove the pith from (a plant stem)

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Examples of pith in a Sentence

Noun finally got to the pith of the discussion
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Remove fragments of the pith from the surface; drain seeds to remove excess liquid. Rahaf Al Bochi, CNN, 1 Sep. 2021 The white pith is bitter and doesn’t have the same bright, citrus flavor of the peel. Darlene Zimmerman, Detroit Free Press, 15 Aug. 2021 Peel the oranges and grapefruits, removing all the pith. Ben Tobin, The Courier-Journal, 6 Aug. 2021 Atlas Obscura itself draws half-seriously on a European history that predates even pith helmets. New York Times, 30 May 2021 Fresh lemon and the pith of fruit comes and stays across the palate, with hops big on the finish. Marc Bona, cleveland, 4 Apr. 2021 One at a time, stand each on a cut end and, slicing from top to bottom, cut away the peel and pith following the contour of the fruit. BostonGlobe.com, 4 May 2021 Ambivalence about the utility of social media and its effects on the psyche is the pith of two highly contemporary debut novels, both by authors who are indisputably good at the internet. Gemma Sieff, Harper's Magazine, 27 Apr. 2021 Follow the curve of the fruit to cut away the peel and pith. Genevieve Ko New York Times, Star Tribune, 7 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Neither was Trey Wingenter, who warmed up multiple times before pithing an inning Tuesday and three innings in the four-game series in Colorado. San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pith.' 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 pith


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1805, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for pith


Middle English, from Old English pitha; akin to Middle Dutch & Middle Low German pit pith, pit

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Time Traveler for pith

Time Traveler

The first known use of pith was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near pith

pit game fowl



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Statistics for pith

Last Updated

3 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pith.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pith. Accessed 21 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for pith



English Language Learners Definition of pith

: the white covering that is found under the skin of oranges, lemons, etc.
: the most important part of something


\ ˈpith How to pronounce pith (audio) \

Kids Definition of pith

1 : the loose spongy tissue forming the center of the stem in most plants
2 : the important part the pith of the problem


transitive verb
\ ˈpith How to pronounce pith (audio) \

Medical Definition of pith

1 : to kill (as cattle) by piercing or severing the spinal cord
2 : to destroy the spinal cord or central nervous system of (as a frog) usually by passing a wire or needle up and down the spinal canal

More from Merriam-Webster on pith

Nglish: Translation of pith for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about pith


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