pith

1 of 2

noun

1
a
: 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
2
a
: the essential part : core
b
: substantial quality (as of meaning)
3

pith

2 of 2

verb

pithed; pithing; piths

transitive verb

1
a
: 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)

Examples of pith in a Sentence

Noun finally got to the pith of the discussion
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
How to Make Oleo-Saccharum Use a vegetable peeler to remove large strips of peel from an unwaxed (preferably organic) lemon, avoiding the pith (the white part of the lemon between the flesh and skin). Alana Al-Hatlani, Southern Living, 8 May 2024 For example, some chimpanzees chew bitter piths of the medicinal shrub Vernonia amygdalina to treat worm infections—and even detour from their normal foraging routes to seek out the plants. Bykermit Pattison, science.org, 2 May 2024 Candied orange peel adds complementary brightness with just a touch of bitterness from the pith. Becky Krystal, Washington Post, 2 Mar. 2024 Cut peel and pith from oranges; cut oranges into ¼-inch-thick rounds. Emily Nabors Hall, Southern Living, 5 Jan. 2024 The result is a luscious stew with a thin broth that has a slight pleasantly bitter note from the lemon pith. Ann Maloney, Washington Post, 26 Sep. 2023 Grapefruit, or Citrus × paradisi, has a tart taste and bitter pith (the white lining around the fruit) that may be off-putting to people who are used to sweeter citrus fruits. Amanda Gardner, Health, 10 Sep. 2023 Mostly carved in sandstone, these scenes make up the pith of the exhibition. Sebastian Smee, Washington Post, 14 Aug. 2023 Not detecting a whole lot of orange peel or pith flavors. Marc Bona, cleveland, 3 July 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pith.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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

First Known Use

Noun

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

Verb

1805, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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

Dictionary Entries Near pith

Cite this Entry

“Pith.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pith. Accessed 27 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

pith

noun
ˈpith
1
a
: the loose spongy tissue that forms the center of the stem in most plants and probably functions chiefly in storage
b
: the spongy inside of a bone or feather
2
: the essential part : core
the pith of the problem

Medical Definition

pith

transitive verb
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

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