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 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 Several of her journal entries reflect their terse relationship. Nancy Hendricks, Smithsonian Magazine, "Hattie Caraway, the First Woman Elected to the U.S. Senate, Faced a Familiar Struggle With Gender Politics," 6 Jan. 2020 As the debate came to an end, an image of the pair having a terse discussion (with Tom Steyer looming between them like a nonsequitur stork in a suit) has become a meme of its own. Emma Grey Ellis, Wired, "Why Elizabeth Warren's Social Media Is Flooded With Snake Emoji," 15 Jan. 2020 His answers to most questions were mostly short and terse, choosing to focus solely on his motivation to win the game and address any perceived slight with his play. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "Belk Bowl: Tensions high between Lynn Bowden and Virginia Tech after reports of trash talk," 30 Dec. 2019 Amid the row of them is another, different but equally terse: Incident. 3 September 2012. David Quammen, National Geographic, "To save wildlife, African governments turn to private management," 12 Nov. 2019 Patriots head coach Bill Belichick held a terse press conference with reporters Friday morning, an availability that lasted just over 3 minutes. Meghan Ottolini, The Denver Post, "Patriots release wide receiver Antonio Brown after one game," 20 Sep. 2019 After a month without a response, Cerutti wrote back with a terse reminder, adding Harper to the email. Lisa Song, ProPublica, "MIT Media Lab Kept Regulators in the Dark, Dumped Chemicals in Excess of Legal Limit," 20 Sep. 2019 Former special counsel Robert Mueller provided Congress a terse conclusion Wednesday to the Russia investigation that consumed Washington for nearly two years. Christal Hayes, USA TODAY, "What we learned from Robert Mueller: Seven hours, zero bombshells and everyone declares victory," 24 July 2019

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

8 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Terse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terseness. Accessed 18 Feb. 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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