\ 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 pithily (audio) \ adverb
pithiness \ ˈpi-​thē-​nəs How to pronounce pithiness (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 The unusual instrumentation leads people to the category of jazz, but McGowan has his own different, pithy take on the band’s sound. Chris Varias, Cincinnati.com, "Come on down to Covington and try out 'cave music' with Moon Hooch," 27 Jan. 2020 One of the pithiest summaries of Prohibition came earlier — a scathing assessment from journalist H.L. Mencken in 1925. David Crary, Anchorage Daily News, "Prohibition began 100 years ago, and its legacy remains," 15 Jan. 2020 Get our daily newsletter These minor politicians provide a pithy summary of how teenagers and those in their early 20s consume news today. The Economist, "Teenagers are rewriting the rules of the news," 18 Dec. 2019 In characteristically short lines and pithy, slippery language like predictive text from a lucid dream, Zapruder’s fifth collection grapples with fatherhood as well as larger questions of influence and inheritance and obligation. New York Times, "New & Noteworthy Poetry, From Yale to Nick Flynn and More," 15 Oct. 2019 This pithy, self-serving summation fundamentally misrepresents the fragility of reputation, a key concept for all whose good name is important to them. Eric Zorn, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Former police Superintendent Eddie Johnson is wrong about reputations. It’s easy — too easy — to destroy them in a single day.," 4 Dec. 2019 Elsewhere Scientific American's resident historian Dan Schlenoff is adding a pithy Epic Tales commentary to 50, 100 & 150 Years Ago about big stories' evolution in our pages over the decades. Curtis Brainard, Scientific American, "175th Anniversary Year Jamboree," 23 Dec. 2019 Eschewing the hard-hitting bullet points, pithy slogans, and data graphics of many slide decks, Eliasson’s presentation, like his art, was a masterclass in eliciting an audience’s awe and curiosity. Anne Quito, Quartz, "The best slide deck about climate change comes from a Danish-Icelandic artist," 28 Sep. 2019 Waller-Bridge gave her warm and pithy acceptance speech not knowing about the makeup faux pas, and instantly made the Internet fall even more in love with her. Neha Prakash, Allure, "Emmys 2019: Phoebe Waller-Bridge Accepts Award With Lipstick on Her Cheek," 23 Sep. 2019

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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Time Traveler for pithy

Time Traveler

The first known use of pithy was in 1529

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Statistics for pithy

Last Updated

10 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pithy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pithy. Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for pithy


How to pronounce pithy (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on pithy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pithy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pithy

Spanish Central: Translation of pithy

Nglish: Translation of pithy for Spanish Speakers

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