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 This week, the board sent a terse letter to BIE Director Tony Dearman, demanding the school remain closed for the rest of the year. Alden Woods, azcentral, "Did failure to close a school expose more people to the coronavirus in Navajo communities?," 6 Apr. 2020 Bystanders engage in a terse dialogue: This single incident in one small city equalled the nationwide death total from the coronavirus in children under the age of nineteen. Peter Hessler, The New Yorker, "Life on Lockdown in China," 23 Mar. 2020 But from this terse summary, a veritable firestorm of claims, counterclaims, and soul-searching pundit panels ensued. Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, The New Republic, "Seeing No Evil," 25 Mar. 2020 There were no new details in the terse letter from the state Attorney General’s Office, which was first obtained by The Greenville News. BostonGlobe.com, "State agents investigated the shooting, and in a two-paragraph letter on Sept. 3, South Carolina Assistant Attorney General Jerrod Fussnecker said he reviewed their findings and decided Greenville County deputy Kevin Azzara was justified in shooting homeowner Dick Tench.," 3 Oct. 2019 After days of haggling, the alliance drafted a terse statement -- from which two numbered bullet points had been excised -- and didn't set a date for another rendezvous. Anchorage Daily News, "OPEC+ talks collapse threatening Russia-Saudi oil alliance," 8 Mar. 2020 Iowans shift their schedules to encounter candidates in fleshy 3-D, away from the terse theatrics of billboards and cable-news hits. Dan Zak, Washington Post, "Why Iowa?," 30 Jan. 2020 There were no new details in the terse letter from the state Attorney General’s Office, which was first obtained by The Greenville News . Jeffrey Collins, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Deputy cleared in shooting of SC homeowner through window," 2 Oct. 2019 Moments after Ken Starr and Robert Ray, along with constitutional law professor Alan Dershowitz, were reported Friday morning to have been recruited, Lewinsky sent out a terse tweet. Daniel Chaitin, Washington Examiner, "'Are you f---ing kidding me?': Monica Lewinsky rages after Ken Starr joins Trump impeachment team," 17 Jan. 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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Time Traveler for terse

Time Traveler

The first known use of terse was in 1601

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Statistics for terse

Last Updated

2 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Terse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terse. Accessed 26 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for terse

terse

adjective
How to pronounce terse (audio)

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with terse

Spanish Central: Translation of terse

Nglish: Translation of terse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of terse for Arabic Speakers

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