adjective \ ˈpi-thē \
|Updated on: 14 Jul 2018

Definition of pithy

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


play \ˈpi-thə-lē\ adverb


play \ˈpi-thē-nəs\ noun

Examples of pithy in a Sentence

  1. … 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 FallowsAtlanticJuly 2000
  2. 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 LynchThe Undertaking1997
  3. 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 MartinEsquireJune 1997
  4. Unlike a great many other science books, the pithy, lyrical text never bogs down in a mudflat of facts. —Leonard S. MarcusParentingDecember/January 1996
  5. The critic gave the film a pithy review.

  6. The book is filled with pithy sayings about love and loss.

  7. a pithy little Mother's Day card

Recent Examples of pithy from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of pithy

see 1pith

Synonym Discussion of 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

PITHY Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of pithy for English Language Learners

  • : using few words in a clever and effective way

  • : resembling or having a lot of pith

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a simultaneous discharge of guns

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