\ 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


finally got to the pith of the discussion

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Juice peeled oranges and lemons through a strainer into a large pot, reserving pith, membranes and seeds. Allegra Ben-amotz, WSJ, "This Ingredient Lights Up a Dish Like No Other," 18 Dec. 2018 Cut away the peel and white pith of orange and grapefruit. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Lime Tilapia With Citrus-Avocado Salsa," 19 Dec. 2018 Cut away peel and white pith of grapefruits, oranges and clementine and slice into rounds. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Winter Citrus Fruit Salad," 28 Nov. 2018 Meanwhile, trim the top and bottom from lemon, perch on a flat end, and cut lengthwise into quarters; remove seeds and white pith in the center. Andy Baraghani, Bon Appetit, "Chicken and Tomato Stew with Caramelized Lemon," 19 Mar. 2018 To zest using this tool, rub the fruit in one direction against tiny, razor sharp blades, making sure to only remove the peel, not the pith. Darlene Zimmerman, Detroit Free Press, "Healthy Table: Orange zest brightens up crumb cake," 20 Jan. 2018 In addition to brightening up your garden, sunflowers make a good dried food for poultry and livestock, bright dyes come from their petals, and paper can be made from the stalk pith. The Editors Of Organic Life, Good Housekeeping, "The Best Way To Grow Beautiful (And Useful!) Sunflowers," 11 Apr. 2017 Using a fine grater, grate the yellow zest from 2 of the lemons (avoid the white pith or the mixture will taste bitter) into a small saucepan. Jeanmarie Brownson, chicagotribune.com, "When Eton mess gives you extra yolks, whip them up into ice cream," 10 July 2018 Remove all of the peel and pith by strips, top to bottom, using the blade of your knife to cut away as little of the juicy flesh as possible. Daniel Neman, sacbee, "Artistry, flavor blends are marks of Moroccan," 10 July 2018

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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Statistics for pith

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Time Traveler for pith

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

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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
\ 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 vertebral canal

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More from Merriam-Webster on pith

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pith

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pith

Spanish Central: Translation of pith

Nglish: Translation of pith for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about pith

Comments on pith

What made you want to look up pith? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an act or instance of returning to life

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