terse

adjective
\ ˈtərs How to pronounce terse (audio) \
terser; tersest

Definition of terse

1 : using few words : devoid of superfluity a terse summary also : short, brusque dismissed me with a terse "no"
2 : smoothly elegant : polished

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Other Words from terse

tersely adverb
terseness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for terse

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 terse in a Sentence

Everything about him is tidy, from his terse wit to the flecks of gray hair that fall in precise iterations around the edges of his scalp. — Devin Gordon, Newsweek, 29 July 2002 … Johnston stays bolted to the wheelhouse floor, wrestling the helm and jotting down notes in the ship log. His entries are terse, bullet descriptions of the unending chaos outside. — Sebastian Junger, The Perfect Storm, 1997 This vicious cycle was captured succinctly in Gandhi's terse warning that an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. — David McCabe, Commonweal, 11 Apr. 1997 She accepts the caller's terse expression of sympathy and duly expresses in return her appreciation for that unenviable bit of message-bearing. — John Barth, Harper's, January 1994 She gave me a few terse instructions and promptly left the room. could tell from his terse replies to my questions that he was in no mood to talk
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Recent Examples on the Web Answers are terse, short, and hugely telling stories unto themselves. Brian Boone, Vulture, "The Best Comedy Books of 2021 (So Far)," 7 Apr. 2021 The protagonist is terse, isolated, with a fetish for self-sabotage that ranges from recreational to all-consuming. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, "Danielle Evans’s Sublime Short Stories of Race, Grief, and Belonging," 21 Nov. 2020 At the same time, however, Orlando attorney John Morgan, a major Democratic donor who had been vigorously touting Demings — and criticizing Harris — had a terse reaction to the Harris pick. Steven Lemongello, orlandosentinel.com, "Ex-contender Val Demings praises Joe Biden’s choice of Kamala Harris as running mate," 11 Aug. 2020 Kraftwerk, ‘Ruckzuck’ (1970) Before Kraftwerk tightened its songs into terse pop structures, its music grew out of the hypnotic late-1960s German rock movement known as kosmische. Jon Pareles, New York Times, "Florian Schneider’s 10 Essential Songs, in Kraftwerk and Beyond," 7 May 2020 The movie behind the movie involves a far richer range of themes and their implications than does the taut and terse compactness, the streamlined and rapid precision of the plot’s turns and resolutions. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "What to Stream: “Fallen Angel,” a Frenzied Otto Preminger Romance on Turner Classic Movies," 1 May 2020 Over more than half a century, Mr. Fonseca wrote short stories, novels, and screenplays that titillated and shocked Brazilians with their terse style and seamy content. Michael Astor, BostonGlobe.com, "Rubem Fonseca, giant of Brazilian literature, at 94," 23 Apr. 2020 That was followed by a fairly terse note on the website. oregonlive, "Virtual college graduation brings real-life heartache in age of coronavirus," 31 Mar. 2020 The clerk of the Illinois high court published a pair of terse notices, saying simply that Smollett's motions both to halt the case and to disqualify its special prosecutor have been denied. Dennis Romero, NBC News, "Illinois high court denies Jussie Smollett's motion to halt case," 7 Mar. 2020

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

1601, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for terse

Latin tersus clean, neat, from past participle of tergēre to wipe off

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Statistics for terse

Last Updated

21 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Terse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terse. Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for terse

terse

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of terse

: brief and direct in a way that may seem rude or unfriendly

terse

adjective
\ ˈtərs How to pronounce terse (audio) \
terser; tersest

Kids Definition of terse

: being brief and to the point a terse statement

Other Words from terse

tersely adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on terse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for terse

Nglish: Translation of terse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of terse for Arabic Speakers

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