suc·​cinct | \ (ˌ)sək-ˈsiŋ(k)t How to pronounce succinct (audio) , sə-ˈsiŋ(k)t How to pronounce succinct (audio) \

Definition of succinct

1 : marked by compact precise expression without wasted words a succinct description
2 archaic
a : being girded
b : close-fitting

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Other Words from succinct

succinctly \ (ˌ)sək-​ˈsiŋ(k)t-​lē How to pronounce succinctly (audio) , -​ˈsiŋ-​klē , sə-​ \ adverb
succinctness \ (ˌ)sək-​ˈsiŋt-​nəs How to pronounce succinctness (audio) , -​ˈsiŋk-​nəs , sə-​ \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for succinct

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

A Succinct History of Succinct

The history of "succinct" might not be short, but it's a cinch to remember. "Succinct" traces to the Latin verb succingere ("to gird about"), which comes from "cingere" ("to gird"), the word that gave us "cincture" and "cinch." The earliest uses of succinct meant "confined" or "girded up," and, as such, it was often used in reference to garments encircled by a band. Eventually, "succinct" was extended to the realm of insects, where it meant "supported by a band of silk around the middle" (as in "the succinct pupa of a butterfly"). Later, the word was applied to writings. A "succinct" piece of writing is "compressed" or "compact" and uses as few words as possible.

Examples of succinct in a Sentence

Other experts are in the business of selling their research. Alan Greenspan made his reputation and career as a partner of Townsend-Greenspan, whose clients were a who's who of old Wall Street. Successful research firms can command substantial fees, and buyers demand clear, succinct and unequivocal analysis and predictions. — Zachary Karabell, Newsweek, 9 Mar. 2009 As Esther Benbassa recounts in her dry but impressively succinct and informative history, they arrived in the Roman province of Gaul in the first centuries of the common era, and soon found themselves trod underfoot by the ascendant Christian church. — David A. Bell, New Republic, 28 Feb. 2000 In his first work of popular science, English theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking proves himself to be a master of vivid clarity. His title, " A Brief History of Time," is understated even by British standards; in 198 pages Hawking manages no less than a succinct history of cosmology, a concise explanation of general relativity and its intersection with quantum mechanics … — Richard Rhodes, Chicago Tribune, 27 Mar. 1988 He gave a succinct overview of the expansion project. a pocket guide that provides succinct explanations for rules of grammar and punctuation
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Recent Examples on the Web The stories, succinct enough to become part of one’s regular fugue-scrolling, are ensconced in explanatory sidebars and suggestions for further (nonfiction) reading or watching. Hilary Moss, New York Times, "A Short Story Collection Based on Our News-Heavy Times," 15 May 2020 But his most succinct comment was in many ways the most harrowing, particularly in contrast to Trump’s daily assertions that things are on the rebound. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "Rand Paul slams Anthony Fauci in the weirdest Senate hearing we've ever seen on TV," 12 May 2020 The resolution of this conflict is succinct but oddly satisfying. Joan Gaylord, The Christian Science Monitor, "‘Amnesty’ sets up a moral dilemma for an immigrant living in the shadows," 29 Apr. 2020 The premise of Run, a new comedy-thriller series that premieres on HBO Sunday, is deliciously succinct. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "After ‘Fleabag,’ Vicky Jones was ready to ‘Run’ toward a tricky HBO thriller-comedy," 12 Apr. 2020 His answer was both thoughtful and succinct: Power is like morphine. John Fund, National Review, "Mr. Coburn Went to Washington and Left a Remarkable Example," 29 Mar. 2020 His letters were succinct, fact-based and resolution-oriented. Dave Lieber, Dallas News, "Companies must respond to consumer complaints. When they don’t, they need to be called out.," 14 Feb. 2020 During the Clinton trial, senators were thoughtful with their questions, and the managers and counsel were succinct in their answers,' McConnell said. Bart Jansen, USA TODAY, "Next in the Trump impeachment trial: 16 hours of questions. How that will work," 29 Jan. 2020 Here’s some more succinct info about the stay-at-home order. Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje,, "The New Normal: San Antonio and much of the state are now staying home, courtesy of COVID-19," 25 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'succinct.' 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 succinct

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for succinct

Middle English, from Latin succinctus having one's clothes gathered up by a belt, tightly wrapped, concise, from sub- + cinctus, past participle of cingere to gird — more at cincture

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Time Traveler for succinct

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The first known use of succinct was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Succinct.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for succinct


How to pronounce succinct (audio) How to pronounce succinct (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of succinct

: using few words to state or express an idea

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