\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web 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 And her pithy and clever clapbacks have secured her a spot as one of social media’s youngest clapback queens. Shalwah Evans, Essence, "15 Beauty Moments That Made Us Want To Reach For The Skai," 5 Oct. 2019 In 1991, in a pithy and now famous paper, a polymathic medical student named Michael Joyner calculated the fastest marathon for the perfect athlete in optimal conditions to be 1:57:58. Ed Caesar, The New Yorker, "Inside the Race to Break the Two-Hour Marathon," 11 Oct. 2019 Translating Nietzsche is a difficult task, but the swagger of his prose, with its pithy strikes and sudden swerves, can be fairly readily approximated in English. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "Nietzsche’s Eternal Return," 7 Oct. 2019 Republicans would be screaming bloody murder, just like the Democrats are doing right now, filling up with air, making big speeches and pithy tweets. John Kass, Twin Cities, "John Kass: Is Democrats’ decision on Trump impeachment real, or just more natural gas?," 25 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.

See More

First Known Use of pithy

1529, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pithy

see pith entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pithy

Time Traveler for pithy

Time Traveler

The first known use of pithy was in 1529

See more words from the same year

Statistics for pithy

Last Updated

13 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pithy.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pithy. Accessed 20 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on pithy

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


not to be intimidated or subdued

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Eponym Quiz

  • rubens painting
  • Which is the best synonym of bowdlerize?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!