\ ˈpi-thē \
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 \ adverb
pithiness \ˈpi-thē-nəs \ 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

Dua Lipa seems to love creating pithy narratives around her outfits. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "Dua Lipa’s Latest Outfit Is Straight Out of Your Grandma’s Living Room," 20 June 2018 Screenshot after gif after meme of the legendary character spouting pithy anti-monogamy one-liners circulate the web. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "Long Live Samantha Jones," 6 June 2018 The daily House calendar offers no pithy advice to members. Gillian Mcgoldrick, Philly.com, "In the Pa. Senate, every day starts with a witty ditty," 12 July 2018 The Bronx natives met during summer school but reconnected years later on Twitter, where their pithy, street-smart jokes earned them retweets, replies and followers galore. Time Staff, Time, "The 25 Most Influential People on the Internet," 28 June 2018 One problem is that the names used in the pithy phrases belong to an earlier, simpler time and may sound alien to young people’s ears. Joe Queenan, WSJ, "Our Tired Expressions Need to Turn Over New Leaves," 28 June 2018 Hundreds—nay, thousands—of people came to their defense with pithy tweet replies and quotes with zingers. Keah Brown, Harper's BAZAAR, "Are You Trolling People on Twitter Without Realizing It?," 15 June 2018 Often, their journals of quotes contain pithy remarks from family members, teachers and friends combined with those from famous sources, literary or otherwise. Philip Chard, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Quotations that speak to us can be signposts on life's journey," 17 May 2018 Due in no small part to Bowie’s pithy one-liners and devilish smirks, the society’s cheeky tone is palpable. Vogue, "Watch a 17-Year-Old David Bowie Give a Rare Interview on Long Hair and Gender," 11 Jan. 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near pithy

pith rush

pith tree



pithy gall



Statistics for pithy

Last Updated

8 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pithy

The first known use of pithy was in 1529

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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

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