pithier; pithiest
: consisting of or abounding in pith
: having substance and point : tersely cogent
pithily adverb
pithiness 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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web In fact, Donya thrives at her low-key workplace, where she’s promoted from wrapping cookies to writing pithy prophecies. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 12 Sep. 2023 The polarizing radio legend speaks in pithy soundbites that should help this hurried segment cruise smoother than others will. Ben Flanagan | Bflanagan@al.com, al, 6 Sep. 2023 Advertisement In a hilarious sequence pivoting on that theme, Mallory repeatedly tries to conclude one of their arguments with a pithy remark, not so much for the satisfaction of it but to infuriate Butler, who always wants to get in the last word. Celia Wren, Washington Post, 29 Mar. 2023 Carrie Bradshaw will have at least one more season of romantic entanglements and pithy, episode-closing narration. Rick Porter, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 Aug. 2023 So here, a pithy primer for anyone considering a part-time home away from home. Mark Ellwood, Robb Report, 19 Aug. 2023 But look at his pithy and pointed vocabulary, his cadences, his ability to assume the role of tough guy, heart-on-the-sleeve Russian patriot, the truth teller who calls out the opportunists, the morons, and the thieves Putin has appointed. Foreign Affairs, 24 June 2023 Introducing the shortcomings of hedge funds, Bernstein has a great, pithy subtitle: A Hedge Fund Is the Investment World’s Birkin Bag. Scott Burns, Dallas News, 20 July 2023 The new show, which premieres Tuesday on FX and Hulu, is not as sharp as the original of 2010-15, which was a sly western hybrid led by Timothy Olyphant’s pithy US Marshal Raylan Givens and a cast of eccentric Kentucky criminals. Matthew Gilbert, BostonGlobe.com, 18 July 2023 See More

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

Word History


see pith entry 1

First Known Use

1529, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of pithy was in 1529

Dictionary Entries Near pithy

Cite this Entry

“Pithy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pithy. Accessed 22 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


pithier; pithiest
: consisting of or filled with pith
: being short and to the point
a pithy saying
pithily adverb
pithiness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on pithy

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