\ ˈpi-thē How to pronounce pithy (audio) \
pithier; pithiest

Definition of pithy

1 : consisting of or abounding in pith
2 : having substance and point : tersely cogent

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Other Words from pithy

pithily \ ˈpi-​thə-​lē How to pronounce pithy (audio) \ adverb
pithiness \ ˈpi-​thē-​nəs How to pronounce pithy (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for pithy

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

Examples of pithy in a Sentence

… Gore's prowess had been blurred by his performance in the Quayle debate and by his four preceding years in the Senate, where the prevailing style is indirect and woolly-swathed in layers of "my distinguished colleague" and short on zingers and pithy remarks. — James Fallows, Atlantic, July 2000 I read my poems in L.A., chatted up the literary set, waxed pithy and beleaguered at the book signings and wine and cheese receptions. — Thomas Lynch, The Undertaking, 1997 He does not hold forth to his family or to his court of old men; he listens,  … then delivers short, pithy edicts that are then followed. — Guy Martin, Esquire, June 1997 Unlike a great many other science books, the pithy, lyrical text never bogs down in a mudflat of facts. — Leonard S. Marcus, Parenting, December/January 1996 The critic gave the film a pithy review. The book is filled with pithy sayings about love and loss. a pithy little Mother's Day card
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Recent Examples on the Web More often than not, two to three pithy paragraphs will suffice. Nancy Marshall, Forbes, "PR Pros: Don’t Send Generic Press Releases; Use Customized Pitches," 28 Apr. 2021 First noticed by scholars during the Disney Renaissance of the late ‘80s through the ‘90s, critical observations about characters like Scar (The Lion King) have since disseminated into pithy, viral tweets, and TikToks. Carolyn Wells, Longreads, "Deconstructing Disney: Queer Coding and Masculinity in Pocahontas," 13 Apr. 2021 Because things always have to be good or bad, or be a pithy answer, or a way of soothing other people. Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, "Nigella Lawson Wants to Talk to People," 14 Apr. 2021 Here was a teenager who could articulate the psychic tornado of adolescence in evocative, pithy lyrics. Kate Dwyer, Marie Claire, "Why 'Fearless (Taylor’s Version)' Hits Different in 2021," 14 Apr. 2021 But as fans of flash fiction — short-short stories usually defined as 1,000 or fewer words — have long appreciated, compression packs a pithy punch. Jim Heynen, Star Tribune, "Review: 'The Youngest Boy,' by Jim Heynen," 9 Apr. 2021 Designed with a wealth of graphic and color images with pithy captions, the book is also peppered with amusing tweets from Tyson’s own Twitter account over the last decade. Bruce Dorminey, Forbes, "Provocative New Neil DeGrasse Tyson Book Highlights Little-Known Cosmic Tidbits," 18 Mar. 2021 Tycho Van der Hoog begins with the pithy observation by American singer-songwriter Frank Zappa to the effect that every nation worth its salt needs an airline and its own beer. Paul Nugent, Quartz, "What Namibia’s breweries tell us about the nation’s past," 13 Mar. 2021 His opinion was pure John Roberts: pithy, smart, with deep historical analysis leavened by a touch of sarcasm. Linda Greenhouse, Star Tribune, "The $1 ruling and our lonely chief justice," 12 Mar. 2021

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

1529, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pithy

see pith entry 1

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Statistics for pithy

Last Updated

9 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pithy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pithy. Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for pithy



English Language Learners Definition of pithy

: using few words in a clever and effective way
: resembling or having a lot of pith

More from Merriam-Webster on pithy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pithy

Nglish: Translation of pithy for Spanish Speakers

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